And the situation does not appear better with kids. A recent study reported in the American Health Association's Circulation found an increasing number of children with high blood pressure, reversing a decades-long trend. In both studies, medical professionals link the problems to the growing rate of obesity.
Stephen Plantholt, chief of cardiology at St. Agnes Hospital, blames the modern family lifestyle. Families drive everywhere and eat too much of the wrong things because it's easier, and in a lot of cases, cheaper.
But the combination of smoking, eating salty and fatty foods, and not exercising is having an impact on younger and younger people. It usually takes years to clog arteries, but the eventual effect could be more heart attacks if there is no intervention.
Still, Plantholt does not view heart disease and heart attacks as inevitable.
He said it's a matter of educating patients and some doctors. Patients with a family history of colon cancer have gotten the message about having regular colonoscopies, and those who have breast cancer in the family are more frequently seeking mammograms.
Plantholt said people with close relatives with heart disease need a stress test, which is a treadmill test that checks how well your body handles work, or a CAT scan, which is an X-ray that is made into a three-dimensional image by computers.
"I view all heart attacks as mistakes: Either the patients made a mistake in not being checked and not controlling their blood pressure or smoking or cholesterol, or the doctor made a mistake in not treating them more aggressively," he said.
He also said, "It's easier to treat a risk factor today than a heart attack tomorrow."
Mike Conway, 39, knows that fact well. Conway had a heart attack last year, surviving only because the Baltimore Blast assistant general manager was at a game and the soccer team's doctor was on hand.
Conway, a former player, always had been pretty healthy. But, he said, he gained weight after he and his wife had two kids, and he had a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease. He started working out once he recovered, but 18 months later, he had a second heart attack.
With yet another chance, he has made it his mission to eat right and exercise, and to teach his kids to do the same. But doing the right things at home isn't enough, and he wants to send out a stern warning to people who believe it won't happen to them:
"Don't be macho and think you don't need to go to the doctor," he said. "It's better to check."