published Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Ask a doctor


Q. I am a 56-year-old man, and my doctor is bothered by my blood pressure of 135/85. Why? I thought the top number on my blood pressure was supposed to be 100 plus my age in years.

A. Wow! It's been a long time since I've heard that myth repeated. Fact is, recent data show that as blood pressure rises above 115/75, in folks between 40 and 69 years old, each increase of 20 points on the top number or 10 points on the bottom number is associated with more than double the rate of death from cardiovascular causes. Your physician is correct to be concerned, and I recommend that you be as well.

-- Dr. John Wood, Beacon

Associates in Internal Medicine,

member of Chattanooga-

Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit an obesity-related question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers, or go online to

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