When it comes to raising public awareness of high cholesterol, Jay Leno is serious as a heart attack. That’s because he’s lost so many of his comedic pals to cardiac-related deaths, and he wants to prevent as many more as he can.
“[I] would always watch Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks… go out to dinner and tell jokes, and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to do that with my friends? Well, in the last couple of years we’ve lost Rodney Dangerfield, John Pinette, Gary Shandling — all these guys that are just not around anymore,” Leno says of the late comics, who died of heart surgery complications, pulmonary embolism and a heart attack, respectively.
Now he wants to help people take control of their heart and artery health before it’s too late.
“If you have a slight headache, well that could mean something else [is wrong]… With high cholesterol, you just don’t know,” says Leno, whose Jay Leno’s Garage is now in its fourth season on CNBC. He was told by a doctor more than 20 years ago that he had high cholesterol, and has since tried to stay vigilant about healthy eating and exercising.
The trickiness of cholesterol, he explains, “is why we set up this Cholesterol 911 website” he explains of his newly announced partnership with Amgen, the drug manufacturer behind the cholesterol drug Repatha, for their new prevention campaign. “Talk to your doctor and find out what you’re supposed to do.”
Further, adds the 68-year-old, “If you’re not going to look out for yourself, look out for your friends. Especially if you get to be the age I am now. Keep an eye out for your friends, look for those signs that maybe something is not right. It’s important to take care of these things.”
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