Former NBC "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno has opened up about his battle with high cholesterol, a condition which he described as a "time bomb,” People magazine reported.
"There’s a lot of people walking around like that, they’re just time bombs," Leno said in a new video created in association with Cholesterol 911 to shed light on high cholesterol.
"You’ve got all this cholesterol, you don’t realize it until it actually hits. It’s like in a car, if even one piece of dirt gets in the eye of the needle of the jet, and boom and no more gas comes through. And that’s what happens with your heart."
Leno is hoping to use the campaign to raise awareness about high cholesterol and the importance of regular check-ups and healthy lifestyle habits.
"We really want people to see the connection, ’cause a lot of people don’t realize high cholesterol, and if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, you’re increasing your risk for another one," Leno said, according to People. "It’s like an earthquake, it might not destroy the house, but it certainly weakens the structure."
Leno's reference to high cholesterol being a ticking time bomb has its truth. There are a number of health issues linked to the condition, including coronary heart disease, but because there are no visible symptoms many people are walking around oblivious to the fact that they may be at risk of a stroke or heart attack.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 95 million U.S. adults over the age of 20 have high cholesterol. The condition does not just affect adults. The report also found that at least 7 percent of U.S. children had high cholesterol. Adding to the severity of the issue, the CDC further noted that high cholesterol raises the risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S, and for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
In light of these findings, the n has embarked upon a stringent campaign to encourage people to keep check of their cholesterol and control it with medication and changes to diet and lifestyle.
Leno said he has taken active steps to manage his high cholesterol with medication, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and monitoring his heart rhythm with a portable EKG.
"I’m not one of those guys. I don’t run five miles a day and do all that kind of stuff," he said, according to People. "Hopefully I’m appealing to people who think like me, which is probably the majority of the population, who would like to do more but not if it sounds like kind of a pain. But this is not a pain, it’s really simple. You go to the doctor, it’s a quick visit, he can tell you what you need to do."