OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In anticipation of Saturday’s Heart Walk in Oklahoma City, a medical professional spoke to KFOR about less sleep being a big risk factor for your cardiovascular health.

“Adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and this has profound implications on your cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Courtney Griffin, Vice President of research, American Heart Association OKC board member and member of the cardiovascular biology research program.

Lack of sleep, elevated blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are just a few of the many issues that can be dangerous to your body.

It’s so important that Griffin said the American Heart Association has added healthy sleep as a pillar of cardiovascular health.

“A good night’s sleep is just one of those other things that we can do to try to ensure that our cardiovascular system is staying as functional and optimal as possible,” Griffin said.

Sleep allows your body to regulate hormone production, keep your immune system tuned up and your metabolism balanced.

This keeps your risk for cardiovascular disease low while allowing your body to repair itself as it should.

“These are all things that sort of go into that complex web of cardiovascular health,” Griffin said. “So, tipping the balance toward a healthier cardiovascular system, good sleep is one thing that helps a lot in kind of that equation.”

Of course, Griffin said a healthy diet and exercise help with cardiovascular health as well.

Studies have also shown that too little or even too much sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Walk Association is hosting its annual OKC Heart and Stroke Walk on Saturday, June 3.

Check in is at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9 a.m.

Visit this link for more information.