David W. Weisgerber, M.D., P.A.

Internal Medicine

307 10th Avenue N.E.

Hickory, N.C.  28601

(828) 327-9898

Answers to Weekly Quiz

                    1.        The Black Death is a form of  "blood poisoning" caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis transmitted by flea bite.  The Y. pestis typically and historically had the black rat as its mammalian host, an animal found in close association with human dwellings.  An additional flea borne infection by a Rickettsia organism causes typhus.

                    2.        Exercise causes a rise in the "good" HDL cholesterol in addition to lowering   the amount of the "bad" cholesterol.  Ironically, that is the very relationship sought by drug companies for their cholesterol lowering medications.  Exercise with a proper diet remains the main treatment for elevated cholesterol levels.

                    3.        Aspirin interupts an enzyme function in the platelets (cell membrane fragments found in the blood) .  This prevents the platelets from adhering to each other and forming small clumps, an initial step in clot formation.  Treatment with aspirin contributes to a decrease in recurrent heart attacks thought to be the result of the lessened chance of clot formation in the coronary arteries.

                    4.        High blood pressure can be caused by all but caffeine.   Often, a patient can avoid the need for high blood pressure medication by avoiding the use of decongestant nasal sprays, alcoholic beverages, and ephedrine like herbal weight loss remedies.

                    5.        West Nile Virus infection is a brain and spinal cord infection associated with   a virus transmitted to man by a mosquito bite and currently responsible for illness in the US.  The animal host to the virus (animal infected but not killed) is usually the bird.  Late in the summer and autumn the bird population becomes less supportive for the mosquito and man becomes a more common host to the mosquito carrying the virus.  Draining pooled water around the home and using mosquito repellant will help control the mosquito population and decrease your chance of being infected.



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