Though the U.S. The Armed Forces always try to support people from all backgrounds with various conditions because they realize that no one is perfect, and we all have issues. They still need their forces to qualify for the medical standards for the U.S. Military  to ensure that there is no medical condition that seems potentially fatal to their troops.

Keep in mind that although most of these medical conditions mentioned below are not permanently disqualifying, they are red flags. Therefore, at any time in your life, if you have had a medical condition, tell your recruiter immediately to get to know whether your condition can be waived or not. What’s more if your medical condition without any official waiver is discovered later, you most likely will be dishonorably discharged for fraudulent enlistment. Hence, let’s follow your military rules about medical standards. 


1. Underlying Reasons Why Medical Conditions Can Keep You From Joining the Military


People with certain medical conditions are not allowed to join the U.S. Military for many reasons. One of them mainly stems from caring for the safety of all armed members. More specifically, as far as you know, uniformed members who have special needs are unable to get the care or treatment they need while in the field, which can be hazardous not only for the ailing members but the entire troop.

Besides, on certain bases in the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, many deployments with no access to medical facilities. Therefore, those with mental or physical disabilities may not access proper treatments and be incapable of doing their duties while deployed, making them all a burden on the armed services. 

In short, DOD (U.S. Department of Defense) medical standards aim to ensure that the armed personnel who are accepted into the U.S. Armed Forces are medically qualified for military duties before and during enlistment in order to ensure the safety of the individual and other troop members as well. 


2. Essential Medical Standards For The U.S. Military 


Remember that all disqualifying medical problems have been determined by the MEPs (Military Entrance Processing Station) according to the Army Regulation 40-501, Chapter2 for medical qualifications for all branches of the Armed Forces. More specifically, service members are required to meet the following medical standards. Let’s check specific requirements for medical standards before enlisting as follows: 

  • Moreover, the military personnel must be free of contagious diseases that endanger the health of others. 
  • Besides, they must be free of medical conditions or physical defects that require excessive time away from active duty for treatment or hospitalization or result in medical unfitness. 
  • Additionally, all military members must be medically capable of satisfactorily accomplishing training and medically adaptable to distinctive environments without necessity of geographical area limits; and medically able to perform duties without causing further harm to existing defects or medical conditions.

If a recruit doesn’t meet any of these aforementioned requirements, he or she would be medically unfit for service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Nevertheless, the specific regulations regarding the level of mental or physical disability of a service member are still constantly evolving. For instance, many specific medical conditions that might disqualify you from joining the U.S. Military including depression, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, heart issues, Asperger’s, and PTSD.

In case you have any medical conditions, it would be better to speak with a local U.S. military recruiter so as to be provided with more specifics regarding the condition, and whether or not you’ll pass your medical exam at MEPS.

>> Read More: Must-know Essential U.S. Military Requirements


3. Disqualifying Medical Conditions


If you are planning on entering the U.S. Military, it is important to keep up to date with military regulations regarding medical standards for service as the protocol for what medical conditions disqualify service members from enlisting constantly changes. Let’s check specific requirements for medical standards before enlisting. Let’s take a closer look at the main medical or physical defects that can prevent a recruit or even a service member from the U.S. Military are as follows: 

  • Abdominal Organs and Gastrointestinal System
  • Blood and Blood Forming Tissue Diseases
  • Body Build Deficiency
  • Advanced Dental Diseases
  • Ears and Hearing Loss
  • Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
  • Loss of Function in Upper Extremities
  • Loss of Function in Lower Extremities
  • Miscellaneous Conditions of the Extremities
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Eyes and Vision Loss
  • General and Miscellaneous Conditions and Defects
  • Genitalia and Reproductive Organs Diseases and Defects
  • Head Trauma or Defects
  • Heart and Vascular System Defects
  • Height and Weight Deficiencies
  • Lungs, Chest Wall, Pleura, and Mediastinum Defects
  • Mouth Disease
  • Chronic Neck Pain or Immobility
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Nose, Sinuses, and Larynx Defects
  • Skin and Cellular Tissue Defects
  • Spine and Sacroiliac Joint Defects
  • Systemic Diseases
  • Tumors and Malignant Diseases
  • Urinary System Disorders


4. 8 Surprising Medical Conditions That Could Bar You From Service


It is clear that armed members must be physically fit to serve in the military. However, there are some medical conditions that you may not be aware of that may prevent you from being served.

The military imposes certain physical requirements that those who wish to serve must meet, and those recruited must undergo a physical examination. When participating, they must also disclose significant medical conditions. Now let’s see 8 surprising medical conditions that might prevent you from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces:


4.1. Food Allergies


military medical exam requirements food allergy
Those who have a history of food allergies might be disqualified from joining the military


Those who have a history of food allergies might be disqualified from joining the military because armed forces will serve in many locations that do not have a variety of food options or have easily accessible medical care in the case of reactions. Allergies are regarded as a reliable history of a moderate to severe reaction to common foods, species, or food additives” by the Army. Meanwhile, the Navy, Air Force, and Marines Corps defines allergies as reactions with anaphylaxis. However, if prospective recruits are merely sensitive to certain foods and get a waiver in certain circumstances, they will still be qualified for enlistment. 


4.2. Contact dermatitis 


us medical requirements contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema triggered by contact with a particular substance

If you’ve ever had an uncomfortable rash after you expose yourself to certain soaps, botanicals, or other substances, you may have contact dermatitis. As service members are exposed to many different substances, you may be disqualified from military service if you have uncontrolled reactions which make the recruit unable to perform regular service. Bear in mind that recruits with minor, manageable symptoms may require a waiver.


4.3. Asthma


Asthma, only if requiring treatment after an employer’s 13th birthday, might disqualify an individual for service. This is a change from the military’s exclusion of all applicants with a previous history of asthma. If the individual carries an inhaler, he or she is likely to be disqualified. Applicants who have experienced asthma after the age of 13 require medical documentation and may receive a waiver depending on their medical history. To get a waiver, recruits are required to take a pulmonary function test (PFT). If the recruiter passes, the affiliates are likely to let the recruiter serve.


4.4. Braces or dental ailments


military braces and dental ailments
All traditional orthodontic appliances or Invisalign are eliminated to join the US military

While you are on your orthodontic journey, your ability to join the military may be limited until all traditional orthodontic appliances or Invisalign are eliminated. Individuals authorized to enlist may participate in the Deferred Entry Program if the orthodontist demonstrates that all active treatment will be completed before the recruit is sworn into active duties. 

Furthermore, other dental problems such as tooth removal or tooth replacement can cause disqualification if there are potential complications or trouble eating food later in the service. Cavities will not eliminate recruits as long as they are treated and filled in properly.


4.5. Acne


us military medical requirements acne
Acne can be the reason why employers get kicked out of jobs

Although acne can be just a minor annoyance for teens and adults alike, it can be the reason why employers get kicked out of jobs. Like the other medical conditions on this list, acne is only a problem when it becomes severe and prevents the person from completing his or her daily tasks such as wearing the military equipment, he or she will be disqualified. People who are being treated with retinoids such as Accutane must take at least four weeks off treatment.


4.6. Too tall


us height standards
Those employed may also have difficulty with some jobs if they are too tall

While height is clearly not a disease, being over 80 inches deserves an honorable mention as it is an unexpected reason employers can be disqualified. This is often due to the need to order custom-made equipment and uniforms. Those employed may also have difficulty with some jobs if they are too tall. Male applicants must be between 60 and 80 inches tall and female applicants must be between 58 and 80 inches tall. However, the Marines are more restrictive and do not accept 78-inch tall males and 72-inch tall females. Therefore, to ensure that you are eligible for joining the military, take a little bit of time to learn more about:

In conclusion, this paper has provided you with much helpful information regarding medical standards for  the U.S. Military. Don’t forget to study for your ASVAB exam by taking our ASVAB Practice Tests.