Car-crazy comedian Jay Leno has something else on his mind these days: his heart. And yours, too. “It’s like a car,” Leno says as he's out promoting a new informational website, Cholesterol911.com, sponsored by Amgen, about the dangers of high cholesterol. “It might run another 100 years or a wheel could come off tomorrow. So make sure everything is running properly” by checking in with your doctor.
The former Tonight Show host, now 68 and host of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, has known about his own high cholesterol for some 20 years. He was informed enough to jump to help his friend Rodney Dangerfield in 2001 when Dangerfield was a guest on the show. Leno said the comedian seemed “a little off” — enough so that Leno called for an ambulance. “It turns out he’d had a stroke, and the paramedic said, ‘You know you might have saved his life.’ ”
Cholesterol is the fatty substance in the blood that can build up in the arteries and cause heart attack and stroke. The more harmful, "bad" kind is called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and the "good" kind is called HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Current guidelines recommend a total cholesterol level (a combination of LDL and HDL) below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. Your LDL reading should be less than 70.
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