Swipe to advance

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

Teaching patients can be repetitive, so it can be helpful to have an analogy at hand that helps patients readily grasp important points. We asked Medscape contributors to share their favorite patient education analogies and then had physician-artist Mike Natter illustrate them.

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is an Umbrella Like a PPI?

Good analogies often compare the condition or treatment to a universal experience, like this one offered by medical student Abigail Schirmer that likens GERD triggers to a rainfall: "When discussing methods of treating GERD, I use the example of a rainstorm. I explain that medication acts as a raincoat or umbrella, but the rain won't stop unless you stop consuming products that create that rain (eg, spicy foods, caffeine)."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is an ARB Like an Airbag?

Endocrinologist Harpreet Bajaj, MD, likes to use automobile safety features to reinforce the need for patients with diabetes to take certain long-term drugs. "We have seatbelts and airbags to minimize injury if we're involved in a car crash. I use that to explain why a patient with diabetes might need to take an ACE inhibitor or ARB. In providing protection for the heart and kidneys, these drugs are like a car's airbags — a safeguard against a problem that may develop later."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Are Nerves Like Electrical Wires?

Neurologist Andrew Wilner, MD, finds that patients can make sense of their demyelinating neuropathies when he compares the peripheral nerves to electrical wires. "Sometimes the insulation of the wires — the myelin — is affected, and the wire doesn't conduct electricity as well. If it gets really bad, it's like the wire has been cut and the nerve doesn't conduct at all."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music?

In kids, diarrhea can occur without a readily identified cause. Pediatrician Rachel Marek, MD, helps parents cope by explaining that "the intestines function in a very coordinated manner — alternately contracting and relaxing — like a classical ballet or symphony, with everyone working in concert. Diarrhea, however, is more like modern dance or heavy metal music. There are unexpected twists, turns, and musical beats. It can be chaotic, which causes the intestines to move things along more quickly. Abdominal cramping and diarrhea may continue until the intestines start performing like a symphony again."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is a Sleep Aid Like a Sledgehammer?

Patients who have been taking benzodiazepines long term can be quite resistant to attempts to deprescribe them. Family practice physician Larry Culpepper, MD, finds it useful to share this analogy to discourage patients from wanting to take them for sleep. He tells patients that "benzos are like a sledgehammer that knocks your brain out for a while."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Are Airways Like Drinking Straws?

"My favorite analogy is for asthma," says pediatric hospitalist Giancarlo Toledanes, DO, who likes to have a straw handy so he can let kids try this one out for themselves. "The airways of the lungs are like straws. If you blow through an open straw, no sound is made. This means the lungs are healthy and air can move around. During an acute asthma attack, the straw may be partially or completely pinched shut from bronchospasm and inflammation. If you try to blow into a partially or completely closed straw, it's difficult to move any air through and sometimes the air makes a high-pitched noise from turbulence — a sound that is heard as wheezing."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is Hormone Therapy Like Gasoline?

Endocrinologist Angela Leung, MD, created an analogy that works well for patients with thyroid conditions — whether it's thyroid cancer or Hashimoto thyroiditis — that require thyroid hormone replacement therapy. She likens thyroid hormone therapy to the fuel that refills the patient's gas tank, so to speak. "After thyroidectomy, we may intentionally overfill the tank a little, to suppress the thyroid gland and keep the cancer away. In the case of hypothyroidism from Hashimoto's, this analogy helps patients understand the role of thyroid medication and how a low gas tank may figure into persistence of hypothyroid symptoms." Dr Leung participated in a talk show during which she used this analogy with a real patient.

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Are Shoes Like IOLs?

Helping patients decide which intraocular lens (IOL) to select during the preoperative consultation for cataract surgery can be challenging, given the number of IOLs available now. Ophthalmologist Robert Graham, MD, uses this relatable analogy to help patients select the right IOL for them. "You probably wouldn't wear hiking boots to a wedding, nor would you wear wedding dress shoes on a hike. You would choose the shoes best suited for the occasion. Similarly, you should choose the IOL that best fits your lifestyle and budget."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is an Ovary Like a Beanbag?

Infertility specialist Peter Kovacs, MD, frequently must explain to patients the relationship between age and fertility, and how the eggs a woman is born with are lost over the years. "I usually tell patients that the ovary is like a big bag of beans. Each month, the body takes a handful and tosses them out. When you get to the bottom of the bag, menopause is reached."

How is Diarrhea Like Heavy Metal Music? 10 Medical Analogy Cartoons

Author: Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Illustrator: Michael B. Natter, MD | January 8, 2021 | Contributor Information

How Is a Statin Like a Bank Deposit?

Patients with diabetes often ask why they need to take medications on a chronic basis if they are doing well. That is when Bajaj uses the analogy of financial investments. "We invest in our finances or retirement plans so that we will have enough money later in life. If you take these essential medications now, we hope that 10 or 15 years from now you will not have to deal with the serious complications of diabetes and you will stay healthy longer. These medications are like a health investment for the future." This analogy would work well for many conditions requiring long-term pharmacotherapy to maintain health and prevent complications.

Start
 

The Art of Surviving Medical Training: An Illustrated Journey

This exploration of art as both an outlet and a learning tool for medical students includes cartoons about frustrations, drawings used to cope with patient death, and a video of study techniques.Medscape News, Apr 2019
All Slideshows
1 26 Next