Diabetes Specialist

As a primary care physician and specialist in internal medicine, James B. Cordell, MD, in La Jolla, San Diego, diagnoses and helps patients manage one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in this country — diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates over 9% of the population lives with this life-changing illness, many without even knowing it. Left unchecked, diabetes can have tragic consequences. Dr. Cordell regularly screens his patients for common problems such as this one to ensure they get the treatment they need to stay healthy.

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is an umbrella term for problems that affect how the body manages glucose (sugar). Glucose is the main source of energy for cells, but when not properly used, it builds up the blood. In excess, high blood sugar causes serious damage to tissue and organs, which is why getting a proper diagnosis and medical treatment from a specialist like Dr. Cordell is critical.

Diabetes comes in three forms:

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Gestational

Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, is a condition patients must deal with most of their lives. Type 2 generally comes as a person gets older, and gestational diabetes affects only pregnant women. Any one of the types of diabetes is potentially life-threatening if left untreated.

What causes diabetes?

The cause varies based on the type of diabetes, but all forms center around one thing — insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that works like a key that opens cell membranes to allow sugar in. When the body registers high levels of sugar in the blood, it releases insulin to unlock the cell membranes to lower the sugar level. When blood sugar is low, the liver breaks down stored energy (glycogen) to use instead.

For people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system damages the pancreas, affecting the production of insulin. Without this critical hormone, blood sugar levels rise. In a sense, you lose the key to unlock the membranes.

When a person has type 2 diabetes, cells develop a resistance to insulin. In other words, it's more like someone changed the lock on the membranes, so the key no longer works. The pancreas may increase the level of insulin to make up for it, but over time, sugar builds up in the blood.

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. The placenta creates a hormone that interferes with the cells, so they temporarily become resistant. After giving birth and passing the placenta, things go back to normal.

How does Dr. Cordell treat diabetes?

Dr. Cordell reviews your lab tests, such as the A1C to screen for abnormal blood sugar levels, and creates a targeted plan to manage the disease that may include diet and exercise along with drug therapy. Failure to control blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications, such as nerve and kidney damage and even blindness.


Our practice accepts most PPO plans and several commercial HMO and Medicare Advantage HMO plans.

We also accept Medicare assignment. This means that we accept the determination of Medicare about the charges for covered services. Medicare pays 80% of this fee after your yearly deductible. We accept almost all Medicare supplement plans, except Medi-Cal.

If you have any questions regarding insurance providers, please call our office.

Anthem Blue Cross
Blue Shield
United Healthcare

Words from our patients

  • RateMDs

    "Extremely knowledgeable and always very professional. Dr. Cordell is one of the finest doctors that I have met. I could not recommend him highly enough."

    Verified Patient
  • Vitals

    "I have been a patient of Dr. Cordell's for over ten years. He has successfully treated me for a number of severe illnesses, some of which could have been terminal."

    Verified Patient
  • Vitals

    "He continuously monitors my diabetes and doesn't hesitate to refer me to a specialist when needed. Staff is always courteous and helpful. I would highly recommend him."

    Verified Patient
  • Vitals

    "He listened very carefully and even drew diagrams to further explain my condition. I have confidence in him."

    Verified Patient
  • RateMDs

    "Got right in same day if needed and staff was very helpful with insurance... Doctor was excellent with great expertise."

    Verified Patient
James Cordell, MD
9850 Genesee Ave., Suite 430
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-452-7320
Fax: 858-452-9276
Office Hours

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