Local doctors say sleep problems and heart disease go 'hand-in-h - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local doctors say sleep problems and heart disease go 'hand-in-hand'

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SUNNYSIDE, WA - We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and not getting enough z's could have some serious health risks.

Reporter Gilbert Magallon spoke with the experts at Sunnyside Community Hospital and Clinics, a regional health affiliate, about how sleep can and does affect your heart health.

"Sleep problems and heart disease go hand-in-hand."

If you haven't been getting a good night's rest, then you might want to see a doctor.

"Your sleep is an important rest period for your heart, and when you have sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea it has a tremendous effect on cardiovascular health," said Dr. Kneller.

Doctors with Sunnyside Community Hospital and Clinics, a regional health affiliate say there are more than 80 sleep disorders. Sleep apnea is one of the most common.

"When you are lying down if you have weight on your neck, or your airways are floppy, you are continually obstructing while you sleep and it's like someone strangling you repeatedly."

Not getting enough sleep can also lead to other serious problems.

"People who have sleep disorders, they are usually at risk for having other medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, depression, chronic metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Riaz.

For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is between 7 to 9 hours.

"Data from 2013 to 2016 suggests that approximately 66 percent of the U.S. adult population is only getting two-thirds of their sleep."

Doctors say obesity is one of the biggest contributors of sleep disorders in our region. In Yakima and Benton Counties, obesity rates are higher than the national average.

"If you are obstructing simply because you are overweight and your neck is heavy then you can aggressively lose weight, get into shape and that might be enough to reverse your sleep apnea."

Sleep disorder treatments vary. If you think you have a sleeping disorder, it's recommended that you see your doctor and get an evaluation.