Although these largely preventable conditions are more common among people aged 65 and older, the number of sudden deaths from heart disease among people aged 15 to 34 has increased. This increase is partially attributable to a more sedentary lifestyle which is causing Americans’ waistlines to expand. Studies have shown that as weight goes up, so does the incidence of hypertension. Just 14.9% of normal weight men and 15.2% of normal weight women have hypertension, this rises to 41.9% for obese men and 37.8% of obese women.
Hypertension is largely treatable through lifestyle modifications. Although in some sufferers, the disease is linked to genetics and other factors beyond the patient’s control, changes in diet, exercise and/or smoking can significantly reduce disease severity for many people. There are also numerous classes of drugs available to lower blood pressure, the most common of which are diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and alpha one antagonists.