A heart attack is a serious medical emergency which happens when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked.
A lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart muscle and can be life-threatening.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. It is a disease in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged up with deposits of cholesterol.
A heart attack occurs when one of the deposits of cholesterol bursts, causing a blood clot to develop, which blocks the supply of blood to the heart.
Coronary heart disease is preventable, however, which greatly reduces the risk of having a heart attack.
The disease can be prevented by ensuring blood pressure and cholesterol levels are kept healthy.
The first way to achieve this is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, which according to the NHS consists of low-fat, high-fibre foods, including five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and whole grains.
Salt should be limited to 6g a day, which equates to around one teaspoonful.
Saturated fats should be avoided, as they increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Foods which are high in saturated fat include meat pies, sausages and fatty cuts of meat, butter, lard, cream, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits.
Unsaturated fats should be consumed, however, as they increase the levels of good cholesterol and help reduce any blockage in the arteries.
Foods high in unsaturated fat include oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
It’s also important to keep physically active and keep a healthy weight, as this reduces the chance of developing high blood pressure.
According to the NHS, people who don’t exercise are twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who regularly exercise.
“Regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level,” said the NHS.
“The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, benefits from exercise. A strong heart can pump more blood around your body with less effort.”
“Any aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing, makes your heart work harder and keeps it healthy.”
Smoking should also be avoided, as smoking is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerosis, which is when the artery walls become furred up with fatty deposits.
According to the NHS, smoking causes the majority of cases of coronary thrombosis in people under the age of 50.
In line with this, alcohol consumption should be reduced, as binge drinking increases the risk of having a heart attack.
The NHS advises men and women not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.