Deaths caused by heart disease have almost halved in the past decade, new research suggests.
Findings suggest that the drop in mortality rates is largely down to the increased use of statins, medication which protects those at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Successful campaigns against smoking have also helped to reduce the number of people using cigarettes - another leading cause of the condition.
Yet despite the positive change, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death across the globe.
Research indicates that the condition led to double the number of deaths in the UK than lung cancer (the second biggest cause of death) in 2015 and 18 times the number of deaths compared to traffic accidents - 2.5 per 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, a stroke is the third largest cause of death in the UK with 24 deaths per 100,000 people.
“Much of the decline in heart disease deaths may be due to a fall in the number of people who smoke,” Dr Alexandra Nowbar of Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute said.
“We’ve seen a significant drop in smoking rates in recent years which has been good news for our hearts.”
“However, obesity, blood pressure and rates of type 2 diabetes are on the rise, and if we don’t keep tabs on these - and encourage people to follow healthy lifestyles, we could see the trend of falling heart disease deaths reverse in the future.”
According to the NHS, coronary heart disease occurs when the heart’s blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
Over a period of time, the walls of the arteries becomes furred up with fatty deposits and this process is known as atherosclerosis.
The leading symptoms of heart disease include chest pain (also known as angina), heart palpitations and unexplained breathlessness.
Some people may not even display any of the above symptoms before being diagnosed.
For further information on the heart condition, please visit the NHS website.