Heart attacks happen when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
The leading cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged up with deposits of cholesterol.
Before a heart attack, one of the deposits bursts, causing a blood clot to develop.
Deposits of cholesterol clog up the blood vessels when there is too much cholesterol in the body.
This is known as high cholesterol and is a common condition in the UK.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance vital for the normal functioning of the body, but having too much of it in the blood can be very bad for your health.
High cholesterol can be caused by eating an unhealthy diet, particularly one which is high in saturated fat.
It can also be caused by being overweight and not getting enough exercise.
Following a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet and keeping active can therefore reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.
This, in turn, will keep the heart healthy and lessen the likelihood of having a heart attack.
So how much exercise should you get in order to avoid getting high cholesterol?
According to the British Heart Foundation, everyone should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
“Regular physical activity strengthens your heart and reduces your ‘bad’ cholesterol,” said the British Heart Foundation.
“Being active helps increase your ‘good’ cholesterol while helping your body move the ‘bad’ cholesterol to your liver where it will be disposed of.”
‘Good’ cholesterol, otherwise known as high-density lipoprotein, carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is either broken down or passed out of the body as a waste product.
Higher levels of good cholesterol are better.
‘Bad’ cholesterol carries cholesterol to the cells that need it, but if there’s too much for the cells to use, it builds up in the artery walls.
High cholesterol refers to their being too much bad cholesterol in the blood, and not enough good cholesterol to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
“You don’t have to join a gym or take up a sport, just look for chances to move more every day. Staying active is great way to keep your heart healthy,” said the British Heart Foundation.