3/13/19 10:27:31 AM — New York, NY, U.S.A — Jay Leno is stopping by the office to discuss how he uses his Apple Watch to monitor his health. He will also discuss the importance of monitoring cholesterol. — Photo by Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY staff ORG XMIT: RD 137885 Jay Leno Health 03/1 [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USAT)

Comedy legend Jay Leno stopped by USA TODAY this week to discuss how he uses tech to monitor his heart health.

As part of a national wellness campaign, the former Tonight Show host also spoke about managing his high cholesterol and opened up about a time he helped a friend who was unknowingly having a stroke. 

Through Cholesterol 911 with Amgen, Leno is trying to get the word out about high LDL-C, which is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol.” He was diagnosed with high cholesterol about 20 years ago.

“We lost Garry Shandling, John Pinnet, Kevin Meaney and most recently Luke Perry,” Leno said. “I’m not a doctor, but what we want to do is make people aware.”

Leno motivates patients and caregivers people to seek out qualified physicians rather than taking advice from “your idiot friend down the street who says, ‘oh, my uncle had that.'” 

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The star of “Jay Leno’s Garage” on NBC said he got involved with health advocacy work because of the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. While Dangerfield was doing a standup routine on The Tonight Show in the early 2000s, Leno noticed that the comedian was a “little off his game” and “sweating a little more than normal.”

“I said to my producer, Debbie, ‘let’s call paramedics. Rodney looks a little weird.'” Once the paramedics showed up after the show was over it turned out Dangerfield was having a mini-stroke, Leno said.

Leno, a well-known car collector who said he doesn’t drink or smoke, uses a KardiaMobile device to monitor his heart health.

The $100 FDA-cleared, clinical grade portable EKG monitor offers a medical-grade heart reading in 30 seconds. It works by tracking your heartbeat through your fingertips and reports the findings in real-time to an app on iPhone and Android.

The readings can then be forwarded to a doctor. The device is available on Amazon. 

High “bad” cholesterol is one of the most important changeable risk factors associated with an increased risk for heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. 

Seventy-one million American adults (33.5 percent) have elevated LDL-Cholesterol, according to the CDC.

Leno noted that there are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. 

“Go to a doctor, and find out what (medicine) you should take and maybe augment that with laughter,” Leno said. “Laughter (alone) is a terrible medicine, it doesn’t do anything. It’s amusing and fun, but as a medicine it just sucks.”

What tech do you use to monitor your health? Let reporter Dalvin Brown know on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

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