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Hitesh B. Patel, MD -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine

Premier Healthcare Associates, PC

Hitesh B. Patel, MD

Board Certified Internal Medicine & Board-Certified Obesity Medicine Specialist located in Brick, NJ

Having COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) makes it difficult to breathe and has significant adverse effects on your quality of life. If you're having chronic breathing problems, Hitesh Patel, MD, of Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, in Brick, New Jersey, can help. Dr. Patel delivers expert diagnosis and care for patients with lung conditions like COPD and Asthma, using state-of-the-art onsite testing and treatment facilities. Get the expert care you need to ease your breathing and optimize your health by calling Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, or schedule an appointment online today.


What is COPD?

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is an umbrella term for lung disorders that causes severe breathing difficulties. These conditions include:


Emphysema develops when there's serious damage to your alveoli (the air sacs inside your lungs). Damage to the walls of the alveoli causes them to break down, so instead of many small sacs, you have one large one. As a result, your lungs can't absorb oxygen so efficiently. Damage to the alveoli also causes stretching in your lungs and makes it harder to breathe out.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis develops when you lose the cilia inside your airways. Cilia are tiny fibers that line your bronchial tubes and help you shift mucus. Without the cilia, your airways can get clogged with mucus, causing a chronic cough.

Refractory asthma

Refractory or nonreversible asthma is a type of asthma that isn't treatable with standard asthma medications.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Common symptoms of COPD include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic cough
  • Excess mucus
  • Swollen feet and ankles

You might also develop a bluish tinge to your lips or fingernail beds that results from cyanosis, a lack of oxygen in your blood.

People who have COPD are likely to have more respiratory infections like colds and flu. These infections on top of the COPD can worsen the condition of your lungs and make it even harder to breathe. You're also more likely to develop pneumonia. 

COPD also adds the risk of developing serious conditions like lung cancer, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, and depression.

What causes COPD?

COPD can develop if you suffer long term exposure to environmental irritants such as:

  • Air pollution
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Chemical fumes

However, the primary cause of COPD in the United States is smoking tobacco. Around 20-30% of smokers develop COPD in later life. If you're a smoker, it's vital for your health that you quit – preferably before you develop COPD.

If you already have COPD, continuing to smoke will worsen your condition, leaving you struggling for every breath. Your risk of developing COPD increases if you smoke and have asthma.

If you suffer from allergies, you're more likely to get COPD too. Once you have COPD, a flare-up of your allergy symptoms is likely to worsen and cause significant breathing problems.

How is COPD treated?

Dr. Patel provides a range of effective onsite breathing treatments and other therapies for COPD, including:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Inhaled steroids
  • Combination inhalers
  • Oral steroids
  • Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors
  • Theophylline
  • Antibiotics
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation program
  • AAT supplementation

Dr. Patel's patients benefit from onsite testing facilities, including spirometry and other breathing tests. For expert help with COPD and other chronic breathing difficulties, call Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, or book an appointment online today.