Can You Join The Military With Asthma What To Know
Requirements to join any branch of the military include a high level of physical fitness and generally good health. This means that asthma can sometimes disqualify a person from serving in the Armed Forces.
Depending on your personal history with asthma and the severity of the disease, you may be able to obtain a waiver allow you to join the military.
Each branch has its own asthma screening methods and requirements for waivers. There are also many resources that may allow you to continue serving if you develop asthma during your time in the military.
Read on to learn more about how you can join the military with diagnosed asthma and what other options may be available if you are not able to enlist.
According to the 2018 Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction into the Military Services issued by the Department of Defense, having a history of asthma after 13 years of age is considered to be a disqualifying condition for service.
But same document sets out the terms in which an individual may apply for a medical waiver.
Having a waiver approved requires a review of a candidates medical history and performance on a test of pulmonary function in addition to passage of a complete physical examination.
Here are the general steps for obtaining a waiver early in the recruitment process:
Allergies And Coeliac Disease
Significant food or other allergies are a limiting factor to entry.
While coeliac disease is manageable day-to-day within New Zealand, in certain situations there may be limited dietary options for a prolonged period. In such situations there is a risk of complications ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms to nutritional deficiency. This has potential implications not only for the individual, but also those around them. The Defence Force has an obligation to minimise risk to the individual and the organisation wherever possible, and accordingly if you have coeliac disease you may not be admitted entry to the Defence Force.
Coast Guard Disqualifying Medical Conditions
The U.S. Coast Guard follows the same guidelines as the other military branches.
MEPS is managed by the Department of Defense with the same temporary and permanent disqualifications.
Once again, speak to a recruiter if you have any of the following:
However, the Coast Guard is starting to apply more waivers to anxiety and depression than in the past.
Regardless, its still very difficult to receive a waiver for more serious mental health problems.
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Air Force Asthma Policy
OMK spoke directly with Recruiter Staff Sergeant Socha, an Air Force recruiter stationed in Staunton, Virginia.
Heres what he had to say regarding the Air Forces asthma policy:
With the Air Force, asthma is disqualifying if service personnel carry an inhaler.
If you had childhood asthma but dont currently carry an inhaler, its possible to join the Air Force.
Before joining the Air Force, the potential candidate would take a Pulmonary Function Test .
However, keep in mind that in the Air Force, there would be specific jobs where asthma would be a problem.
We will update the Air Force asthma policy every 6 months to keep this content current and to notify you of any changes.
Your Butt Cant Be Too Big
Spinal disorders and conditions are taken very seriously by the military. Many of the jobs have stringent physical demands and standards, and having any sort of back issue can be detrimental to your health, and the readiness of the force. However, according to the Tucson recruiting office, as a result of spinal curvature misalignment, your butt can be too big for you to serve. Enough said.
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Military Rules For Recruits With Asthma
Previously, any history of asthma was disqualifying, regardless of age. While medical waivers were sometimes possible, waiver approval usually required scheduling and passing a pulmonary function test.
In the present day, asthma is only disqualifying if it occurs after the applicants 13th birthday. Some waivers were granted back then, but typically only for non-combat jobs.
Medical record screening may still be required, depending on the applicants medical history. However, in many cases, a signed statement, attached to the medical pre-screening form, stating that the applicant did not have any type of asthma or treatment for asthma after their 13th birthday will be sufficient.
Also having no issues with the fitness test helps in this process too so arrive in shape with no cardiovascular weakness.
Applicants who have experienced asthma or reactive airway disease after age 13 will require all medical documentation. Waivers may still be considered, depending on the applicants medical history and possibly results from a pulmonary function test.
Why Does It Matter
Being in the Army can be challenging both physically and mentally.Therefore, a history of health problems or the presence of health conditions that usually dont affect your everyday life, can mean that youre not able to join, or you might have to wait to join.
You will be sent forms asking about your medical history once youve submitted your application.
The medical team assess everyone individually, and make their decisions based on their professional opinion in keeping with prescribed army standards. These standards and guidelines are reviewed and amended regularly.
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Are There Physical Fitness Requirements To Join
Yes, there are physical fitness requirements to join the Army. The Armys Physical Fitness Test is used to assess the physical endurance of a recruit. APFT is a 3-part fitness event: 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. Recruits must pass the APFT to graduate boot camp.
The APFT physical fitness requirements vary by age and gender. Reference the table below to find your minimum fitness requirements.
The Army will continue to use the APFT until further notice.
|MENS APFT PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIREMENTS|
If you have any questions regarding the APFT or your physical fitness requirements, talk to your recruiter.
If Theres A Will Theres A Waiver
Three years ago, I wrote an article detailing my personal difficulties securing a medical waiver through three military medical rejections. Since publishing the article, I have had the privilege to speak with over 100 applicants just like me people who want to serve and have something to contribute but who have been medically rejected about the barriers they ran into. Through those conversations, I learned many lessons regarding common myths and misperceptions about the military medical waiver process and have even been fortunate to assist with some successful waiver appeals.
This article aims to demystify the medical waiver process and give applicants the information that will help them get to yes. Far too few people know, for example, that having a disqualifying medical condition is not actually disqualifying, or that they can apply to multiple military branches in multiple states. While no one can guarantee a medical waiver, if you follow this guide, you will maximize your chances of receiving one. Above all else, never forget that if theres a will, theres a waiver!
Is Your Medical History Truly History?
While applicants can only formally apply to one military branch at a time, most people do not realize that you can apply to a different branch after youve been rejected by one. In other words, keep applying.
Be a Waiver Innovator
Worth the Wait
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Can You Join The Military With Asthma All You Need To Know
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Can you join the military with Asthma? This is a very popular question, and considering the potential trainees, this article has been created!
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult for people to get air in and out of the lungs.
One in 13 people have asthma and are often diagnosed in their youth before they have the opportunity to join certain careers including the military.
If you have asthma and are considering joining one of the military branches, here is the information you need.
Can I Join The Military With Asthma
When a person joins the military, regardless of branch, medical history is part of the enlistment process.
In addition to providing a detailed medical history, the recruit must also undergo a thorough medical exam by a physician at MEPS .
There are multiple conditions that can disqualify someone from military service. In the past, it was virtually impossible to serve in the military if there had been a previous diagnosis of asthma.
While current asthma cases are generally not allowed, there have been more leniencies granted towards those who suffered from asthma in the past but are no longer afflicted with the condition.
As of 2004, if the recruit has not had any asthma symptoms or been treated for asthma beyond his 13th birthday, he is generally considered not to have asthma by military recruitment standards. He will be allowed to join through an enlistment process that is the same as it is for someone who has never had asthma.
If he has experienced asthma symptoms or been treated for asthma later than his 13th birthday, he may still be allowed to join but a medical waiver will be necessary. Whether the waiver is granted is based on factors such as the severity of his asthma, when the last treatment or symptoms occurred and his general prognosis with the condition.
For this reason, it is imperative that the recruit is completely honest throughout the process about his medical history.
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Air Force Asthma Policy For 2019
OMK spoke directly with recruiter Staff Sergeant Socha, an Air Force recruiter stationed in Staunton, Virgnia.
Heres what he had to say regarding the Air Forces asthma policy:
With the Air Force, asthma is disqualifying if the service person carries an inhaler.
If they had childhood asthma but currently do not carry an inhaler it is possible to join the Air Force.
Before joining the Air Force, the potential candidate would take a Pulmonary Function Test .
Keep in mind though that, in the Air Force, there would be specific jobs where asthma would be an issue.
We will update the Air Force asthma policy every 6 months to keep this content current and notify you of any changes.
Sample Medical Conditions That Might Stop Or Delay Me Joining
- Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Significant history of dyspepsia.
- History of kidney problems such as malfunction of a kidney or kidney stones.
- Recurrent renal colic.
- Structural abnormalities of the spine and spinal cord.
- History of chronic or recurrent back pain.
- Disorders resulting in abnormal coagulation.
Bone or joint problems:
- Knee injuries and chronic knee pain.
- History of bone fractures.
- Shoulder problems resulting in functional limitations or restrictions of movement.
- Loss of a limb.
- Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
- Hypermobility syndrome.
- Symptomatic or medication-suppressed abnormal heart rhythms.
- Asthma .
- Chronic lung disease such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
- Current perforation of ear drum.
- Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
- Presence of eardrum ‘grommets’.
- Chronic eye conditions such as glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
- Damage to the eyelids affecting vision.
- Chronic conjunctivitis.
- Reduction of corrected vision in one eye below army entry standards.
- History of head injury with neurological sequalae.
- History of deliberate self-harm or suicide attempts.
- An active skin disease like severe eczema or widespread psoriasis.
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Requirements To Become A Sailor
To join the Navy, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
- Be between the ages of 17 and 39 to enlist or be between 19 and 42 to become an Officer*
- Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent or have a four-year degree from an accredited university
- Have a qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test or the Officer Aptitude Rating and Aviation Selection Test Battery
- Pass the Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam
- Meet the physical, mental and moral standards of the Navy
*If you are not yet 18, you need parental consent to join.
Contact a recruiter to request more information about basic requirements.
Medical Conditions That Can Keep You From Joining The Military
Below, you will find details from the Army‘s “Standards of Medical Fitness.” These standards generally apply to all other branches as well. Remember that most of these conditions are not necessarily permanently disqualifying, but they are red flags.
If you have had a medical complication at any time in your life that is mentioned here, then you need to tell your recruiter. They will tell you whether your condition can be waived, or if it is permanently disqualifying. Remember that if you do not get an official waiver and your condition later is discovered, you most likely will be dishonorably discharged for fraudulent enlistment. The choice is yours.
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You Cant Have Flat Feet
Though this is one of the most widely argued-about conditions that can bar you from the military, the answer is yes it is real. While someone who has flat feet can serve in the military, it depends on the severity. If someone has symptomatic flat feet, which indicates that the condition causes the person chronic physical pain, then he or she cannot serve.
Endocrine And Metabolic Disorders
The following conditions may disqualify you from military service:
a. Adrenal dysfunction of any degree.
b. Diabetes mellitus of any type.
c. Glycosuria. Persistent, when associated with impaired glucose tolerance or renal tubular defects.
d. Acromegaly. Gigantism or other disorder of pituitary function.
Goiter, persistent or untreated.
Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled by medication.
i. Nutritional deficiency diseases. Such diseases include beriberi, pellagra and scurvy.
j. Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, porphyria and amyloidosis that obviously prevent satisfactory performance of duty or require frequent or prolonged treatment.
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Keep Taking Prescribed Medications
Long-term controller medications may also help treat your asthma and prevent symptoms from returning. Its important not to stop taking your prescribed medications even if your symptoms are better.
If you stop taking your medications as prescribed, this could cause your symptoms to return at a higher severity, leading to an over-reliance on fast-acting inhalers and other rescue medications.
Considerations Unique To The Military
Active-duty personnel present unique challenges in the diagnosis and management of asthma. Service members should be questioned thoroughly on deployment and exposure history. A significant portion of the current military population has deployed to SWA in the past decade, many for multiple deployments. Research addressing respiratory complaints in the deployed military population is ongoing. To date, military research has demonstrated that while many service members with deployment-related respiratory exposures have a paucity of objective findings after pulmonary medicine evaluation, some demonstrate functional limitations consistent with asthma or airway hyperresponsivenesss. Further retrospective studies did not find a relationship between deployment and diagnosis rates or severity in asthma patients in the Army. A comprehensive evaluation is recommended for service members with dyspnea to include investigating for potential asthma- or exercise-induced bronchospasm, in addition to diagnoses such as vocal cord dysfunction, GERD, and OSA.
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Personality Conduct And Behavior Disorders
The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:
a. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders as evidenced by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, antisocial attitudes or behavior, which, while not sufficient cause for administrative rejection, are tangible evidence of impaired capacity to adapt to military service.
b. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups.
c. Other behavior disorders including but not limited to conditions such as authenticated evidence of functional enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking or eating disorders that are habitual or persistent occurring beyond age 12, or stammering of such a degree that the individual is normally unable to express themselves clearly or to repeat commands.
d. Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.
e. Suicide, history of attempted or suicidal behavior.
What Services Are Available For Asthma In The Military
Because asthma and related respiratory problems can worsen over time, its important that military servicemembers obtain a thorough evaluation of their health in order to help get treatment to control symptoms, even if youre already in the military.
As with signs of any medical condition during military service, asthma symptoms should also be taken seriously. Every effort should be made to determine whether an individual can continue with military service in order to avoid unnecessary risk to their own life or to the lives of others who serve with them.
Medical research supports the involvement of people with asthma in the military with basic treatment for symptoms.
Research from 2015 in Federal Practitioner suggests that most service members with asthma can remain on active duty when management with inhaled therapies that allows them to meet standards and perform required duties.
Researchers involved in this 2015 study also suggest that an asthma diagnosis should be given along with the following tests to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis:
- how strongly the airways react to asthma triggers
- how the heart behaves during asthma diagnosis tests
You may have a greater chance of receiving a waiver if:
- you are currently being treated for asthma
- your symptoms appear to be well controlled
- your symptoms are relatively mild
Poorly controlled symptoms are likely to lead to a waiver disapproval and disqualification from joining the military.
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