Coronary heart disease is the largest cause of avoidable death, representing over 17% of all avoidable deaths in England and Wales, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics.
The figures show that 19,951 people died of heart conditions, which could have been avoided through good quality healthcare or a wider public health intervention in 2013. However, despite remaining one of the largest public health problems, heart disease mortality rates have decreased. The figures show that between 2001 and 2013, the avoidable heart disease mortality fell by 52%.
Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'These figures show that thousands of people are still dying needlessly from coronary heart disease, the leading cause of avoidable deaths. While we've made great progress over the last decade to significantly reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease, the number of people living with this condition continues to rise.'
The figures show a significant variation in heart disease mortality rates between genders. More men died as a result of heart disease than women.15,078 out of 69,245 avoidable male deaths were caused by coronary heart disease. In comparison, there were 4,873 avoidable deaths related to coronary heart disease out of a total of 45,495 female deaths.
Heart disease was the biggest avoidable cause of death in men in 2013, while lung cancer was the largest cause of avoidable deaths in women.
Ms Maddock added: 'We need to empower individuals to make healthier choices. Following a healthy diet, keeping physically active, stopping smoking and maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can all help reduce your chance of developing heart disease.'