Too many elderly deaths are probably preventable.

We hear about COVID-19 deaths taking a major toll on the elderly, especially those with multiple pre-existing conditions. Why are the elderly more susceptible? Age? Multiple diseases? Other? We need to know the cause of so many elderly dying from COVID-19 to fix the problem.

I used to analyze failures for my company using a TapRooT® approach. TapRooT® is a systematic root cause analysis process to analyze and fix the real root causes of problems. If something failed, you want to research why it failed. When you know that reason, go another level deeper and find out why that happened. Then, when that cause is known, go deeper.

The process goes until there is no other reason why something happened. This is the root cause. I have done analyses for a myriad of failures all over the world. Many times, it is not the obvious cause people to see when first looking at the failure.

If I were to assume that death by, with, or from COVID-19 were the failure. The human failed to survive the disease. What caused it to die? I will do a simplified version of this process and jump from one level to another. In real life, there would be considerably more interaction to determine the failure(s).

A person is no longer living and classified a COVID-19 death. Statistically, we know this person is older than most and has pre-existing conditions. People have survived the COVID-19 disease at the age of 100 and older. Let us discount the age and go straight to the disease(s).

What causes high blood pressure, obesity, cardiac problems, etc. The cause of literally every disease is inflammation – chronic low-level cellular inflammation. What causes chronic low-level cellular inflammation. Most of the time it is free radical damage. Yes, there might be a couple of other causes, but I am settling on this cause for our discussion.

Free radical damage is a normal process in our bodies. Normal metabolic processes generate free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with an unstable electron structure. A free radical molecule will snatch an electron from a stable molecule to become stable. The former stable molecule is now a free radical.

Free radicals come from the foods we eat, the personal care products we choose, the air we breathe, the stress we choose to keep, and more. Free radicals left to fester without attention will cause cellular damage. Left long-term, then chronic low-level cellular inflammation begins.

What causes free radicals to have free range of our bodies? Antioxidants put out the flames of free radicals. A diet sparse in antioxidants allows chronic low-level cellular inflammation to run amok. A cause in not having adequate levels of antioxidants is choice. Foods provide a rich source of antioxidants.

A diet devoid of balanced nutrition provides few antioxidants to fight the battles at the cellular level. What causes the daily nutritional imbalance? I would suggest that nutritional education is the most likely culprit. What causes a lack or scarcity of education in the areas of health, wellness, nutrition, and other supporting fields?

We can probably blame societal values for not putting enough emphasis on health and wellness. We provide a lot of health and wellness information for the expectant mother, but it seems to phase out as the child is growing out of the toddler stage. There is a paucity of information provided by health and medical authorities.

The list can go on, but a root cause is probably people not having the knowledge to make better choices with their lives. This is a two-sided sword. We can have the information and be informed, but we must act. Why don’t people take the right actions? This could be another article on personal choices and responsibilities.

Suffice it to say that over the past seventy-plus years, the information gap has grown. The information is there, but not extracted from books, people, videos, articles, and other sources. I need to know ‘why’ to make changes in my life. A simple ‘what’ does not work. Being told to eat something because it is ‘healthy’ does not make it happen for me.

The information is available from many sources today. Most people have access to it. Most people have habits of eating meat and potatoes or other comfort foods daily and do not get the daily balanced nutrition needed to support a strong immune system and a healthy elderly lifestyle. Faced with months of future pandemic opportunities, our recent experience might induce a few people (over and under the age of 50) to reassess their daily food options to make wiser choices.

In summary, Benjamin Franklin summed it up nicely over 250 years ago, “Root-Cause Thinking reveals that We are only as strong as our Weakest Link.” A sign at the AngloAmerican Supply Headquarters in London during World War II had this verse on the wall. “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost, for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”

Most of the more seasoned citizens have heard or seen that verse before. Think about how it applies to our health. If we want to be robust and still bullet-proof as we were in our teenage years, we need to pay attention to the right things. Awareness comes first. Then education! Make the right choices today!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *