High Blood Pressure Specialist

One of the primary goals of internal medicine specialists like James B. Cordell, MD, in La Jolla, San Diego, is to identify those at risk for chronic problems such as high blood pressure. Hypertension is known as the silent killer because it often has no symptoms, but it has significant consequences if left untreated. Without proper treatment to manage it, high blood pressure can lead to everything from an aneurysm to heart disease to memory decline.

High Blood Pressure Q & A

What does blood pressure mean?

Your blood pressure is a measurement of two things:

  • How hard the heart is working
  • How much resistance there is in the arteries

The higher number, or systolic pressure, is the measure of the force the heart must exert to move blood through the arteries. The lower number, or diastolic, measures the resistance felt as the blood hits the artery walls. The more resistance there is in the arteries, the harder the heart must work to pump blood.

What is normal blood pressure?

For most people, the ideal blood pressure reading is between 110/60 and 120/80. Under current guidelines, patients who cannot get their blood pressure under 140/90 with lifestyle changes should be treated with medication to get their blood pressure under this target level.

What is high blood pressure?

As the name suggests, high blood pressure, or hypertension, means those numbers are higher than they should be for a healthy person. Long-term force on the artery walls leads to complications such as heart disease and stroke. The problem is that people can have high blood pressure and not even know it. This is why Dr. Cordell takes a blood pressure reading at least once at every office visit.

What causes high blood pressure?

The concept of blood pressure is complex, so doctors break it down into two key categories:

  • Primary (essential)
  • Secondary

Primary, or essential, hypertension has no identifiable cause. The walls of the arteries tend to stiffen with age, so it’s associated with aging for most patients. It’s also linked to lifestyle issues, such as obesity or lack of exercise. Even a moderate lifestyle change can get rid of the problem.

Secondary hypertension has an underlying cause such as:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Congenital defects
  • Medication
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol abuse

With either type of high blood pressure, stress is put on the arteries that will cause damage over time.

What is the treatment for hypertension?

Treatment depends on a number of factors, such as whether there’s an underlying cause for hypertension, such as kidney disease. For most patients, though, it’s a matter of making lifestyle changes and taking medication.

Most care plans will include:

  • Weight loss
  • Changes in diet
  • Increased exercise
  • Medication


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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