Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in this country, which is why primary care physician James B. Cordell, MD, in La Jolla, San Diego, focuses on prevention for his patients. Dr. Cordell understands that even modest changes in diet and exercise can reduce a person's risk. He works with his patients to make smart choices that lead to heart health instead of heart disease.

Heart Disease Q & A

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the heart. They range from mild arrhythmias to coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular disease and heart disease are often discussed interchangeably, although technically, they do have different meanings. Cardiovascular disease falls under the category of heart disease but involves blood vessels that narrow over time, putting you at risk of having a heart attack.

Heart disease includes:

  • Atherosclerotic disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart defects
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Heart infections
  • Heart valve diseases

Each one of these fits under the umbrella of heart disease.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

There are many different conditions involved with heart disease, so the symptoms will vary. For example, with dilated cardiomyopathy, you might experience a feeling of breathlessness, swelling in the ankles, and irregular heartbeats. With a heart arrhythmia, the symptoms might include a flutter in the chest, lightheadedness, and near fainting.

Some common symptoms for all heart conditions include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

Dr. Cordell will talk with you about your symptoms to make sure you get an accurate diagnosis.

What tests are necessary to diagnose heart disease?

Diagnosis starts with a comprehensive physical exam that includes:

  • Full medical and family history
  • Listening to the heart and lungs
  • Standard blood tests

For patients experiencing symptoms related to heart disease, Dr. Cordell may also order an electrocardiogram to detect irregularities in the heart and possibly Holter monitoring to measure any irregularities over an extended period. In certain cases, he may need to see the structure of the heart, as well, so he'll order imaging tests such as an echocardiogram.

What are some ways to prevent heart disease?

Ultimately, Dr. Cordell strives to educate his patients about the dangers of heart disease and to encourage them to make lifestyle changes that reduce their risk, such as quitting smoking. Dr. Cordell will also manage other conditions that increase the likelihood of developing heart problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

As part of a general wellness strategy, Dr. Cordell recommends his patients:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Learn ways to manage stress
  • Practice good hygiene at home
  • Get plenty of exercise


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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