Army Medical Disqualifications List

Before you join the military, you’ll undergo a comprehensive medical examination. Here, we’ll go over the complete medical disqualifications list as laid out by the Army Standards of Medical Fitness. These standards generally apply to other branches of the military as well.

Be prepared – the list of disqualifying medical conditions is extensive but there are many cases where your situation can be bypassed with a waiver. Still, other conditions are cause for permanent disqualification.

In any case, it’s imperative to be upfront with your recruiter about your medical history. It’s only for your benefit.

Army Medical Disqualifications List – US Army

The following conditions may disqualify you from military service.

Abdominal Organs and Gastrointestinal System

  • Esophagus:
    • Ulcerations, varices, fistula, achalasia, dysmotility disorders
    • Chronic esophagitis
  • Stomach and duodenum:
    • Gastritis
    • Active ulcer
    • Congenital abnormalities causing symptoms or requiring surgery
  • The small and large intestine
    • Inflammatory bowel disease: Regional enteritis, ulcerative colitis, ulcerative proctitis.
    • Duodenal diverticula
    • Intestinal malabsorption syndromes
    • Congenital
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Hepato-pancreatic-biliary tract
    • Viral hepatitis
    • Cirrhosis
    • Cholecystitis
    • Pancreatitis
  • Anorectal
    • Anal fissure
    • Anal or rectal polyp, prolapse, stricture, or incontinence
    • Hemorrhoids
  • Spleen
    • Splenomegaly
    • Splenectomy
  • Abdominal Wall
    • Hernia
    • History of abdominal surgery
  • Other
    • Gastrointestinal bypass or stomach stapling to control obesity
    • Persons with artificial openings

Blood and blood-forming Tissue Diseases

  • Anemia
  • Hemorrhagic disorders
  • Leukopenia
  • Immunodeficiency

Dental

  • Diseases of the jaw or associated tissues
  • Severe malocclusion
  • Insufficient natural healthy teeth or lack of serviceable prosthesis
  • Orthodontic appliances for continued treatment. However, retainer appliances are permissible.

Ears

  • External Ear
    • Atresia or severe microtia
    • Acquired stenosis
    • Otitis externa
    • Severe traumatic deformity
  • Mastoids
    • Mastoiditis
    • Residual of mastoid operation with fistula
    • Marked external deformity preventing or interfering with wearing protective masks or helmets
  • Meniere’s Syndrome or other vestibular system diseases
  • Middle and inner ear
    • Otitis media
    • Cholesteatoma
    • History of any inner or middle ear surgery excluding myringotomy or tympanoplasty
  • Perforation of tympanic membrane or surgery to correct perforation with 120 days of medical examination

Hearing

  • Hearing loss with the severity of:
    • Pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 30 decibels (dB) on the average for each ear, with no individual level greater than 35 dB at these frequencies
    • Pure tone level not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second for each ear and 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second for each ear

Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders

  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glycosuria
  • Acromegaly
  • Gout
  • Hyperinsulinism
  • Thyroid disorders
    • Goiter
    • Hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism
    • Cretinism
    • Thyroiditis
  • Nutritional deficiency diseases
  • Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as:
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Porphyria
    • Amyloidosis

Upper Extremities

  • Limitation of motion including:
    • Shoulder
      • Forward elevation to 90 degrees and/or abduction to 90 degrees
    • Elbow
      • Flexion to 100 degrees and/or extension to 15 degrees
    • Wrist
      • A total range of 60 degrees (extension plus flexion) and/or radial and ulnar deviation combined arc 30 degrees
    • Hand
      • Pronation to 45 degrees and/or supination to 45 degrees
    • Fingers and thumb
      • Inability to clench a fist, pick up a pin, grasp an object, or touch tips of at least three fingers with the thumb
  • Hands and fingers
    • Absence of the distal phalanx of either thumb
    • Absence of distal and middle phalanx of an index, middle, or ring finger of either hand
    • Absence of more than the distal phalanx of any two of either the index, middle, or ring fingers of either hand
    • Polydactyly
    • Scars and deformations of the fingers or hand that impairs normal function
    • Intrinsic paralysis or weakness
  • Recovery from disease or injury with residual weakness or symptoms of the wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, or shoulder

Lower Extremities

  • Limitation of motion including:
    • Hip
      • Flexion to 90 degrees
      • No demonstrable flexion contracture
      • Extension to 10 degrees
      • Abduction to 45 degrees
      • Rotation of 60 degrees
    • Knee
      • Full extension
      • Flexion to 90 degrees
    • Ankle
      • Dorsiflexion to 10 degrees
      • Plantar flexion to 30 degrees
    • Subtalar joint
      • Eversion and inversion
  • Foot and ankle
    • Absences of one or more small toes if it affects your proper function or creates poor running or jumping technique or absence of any part of the foot
    • Absence to great toe(s) or loss of dorsal/plantar flexion
    • Deformities of the toes
    • Clubfoot or Pes Cavus
    • Symptomatic Pes Planus
    • Severe ingrown toenails
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Neuroma
  • Leg, knee, thigh, and hip
    • Loose or foreign bodies within the knee joint
    • Unstable or internally deranged joint
    • Surgical correction of any knee ligament if it is causing symptoms or is unstable
    • Congenital dislocation of the hip, osteochondritis of the hip (Legg-Perthes disease), or slipped femoral epiphysis of the hip
    • Hip dislocation within 2 years of medical examination
    • Osteochondritis of the tibial tuberosity (Osgood-Schlatter disease)
  • General
    • Deformities, disease, or chronic pain of the lower extremities
    • Shortening of a lower extremity causing limp or scoliosis

Miscellaneous Conditions of the Extremities

  • Arthritis
    • Active, subacute, or chronic arthritis
    • Chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis in isolated joints of more than a minimal degree
  • Chronic Retropatellar Knee Pain Syndrome
  • Dislocation
  • Fractures
    • Malunion or nonunion of any fracture, except an ulnar styloid process
    • Orthopedic hardware
  • Injury of a bone or a joint more than a minor nature occurring within 6 weeks of medical examination
  • Joint replacement
  • Muscular paralysis, contracture, or atrophy
  • Osteochondritis dessicans
  • Osteochondromatosis or Multiple Cartilaginous Exostoses
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Scars that are extensive, deep, or adherent to the skin and soft tissues that interfere with muscular movements
  • Implants, silastic, or other devices implanted to correct orthopedic abnormalities

Eyes

  • Lids
    • Blepharitis
    • Blepharospasm
    • Dacryocystitis
    • Deformity of the lids that interferes with vision or impairs the protection of the eyes
  • Conjunctiva
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Pterygium if encroaching on the cornea above 3 mm, interfering with vision, progressive, or recurring after two operative surgeries
    • Xerophthalmia
  • Cornea
    • Dystrophy
    • Keratorefractive surgery; Laser surgery or appliance utilized to reconfigure the cornea is also disqualifying
    • Keratitis
    • Vascularization or opacification of the cornea
  • Uveitis or iridocyclitis
    • Chorioretinitis or inflammation of the retina, unless single episode of a known cause that has healed and does not interfere with vision
    • Congenital or degenerative changes of any part of the retina
    • A detachment of the retina, history of surgery for a detached retina, or peripheral retinal injury or degeneration that may cause retinal detachment
  • Optic nerve
    • Optic neuritis, neuroretinitis, secondary optic atrophy, or history of attacks of retrobulbar neuritis
    • Optic atrophy or cortical blindness
    • Papilledema
  • Lens
    • Aphakia, lens implant, or dislocation of the lens
    • Opacities of the lens that interfere with vision or are progressive
  • Ocular mobility and motility
    • Diplopia
    • Nystagmus
    • Strabismus that is uncorrectable by lenses to less than 40 diopters or if it accompanied by diplopia
    • Surgery to correct strabismus within 6 months of medical examination
    • USMA and ROTC disqualifiers: Esotropia of over 15 prism diopters, exotropia of over 10 prism diopters, and hypertropia of over 5 prism diopters
  • Miscellaneous defects and conditions
    • Abnormal visual fields due to disease or trauma; Meridian-specific visual field minimums are:
      • Temporal – 85 degrees
      • Superior temporal – 55 degrees
      • Superior – 45 degrees
      • Superior nasal – 55 degrees
      • Nasal – 60 degrees
      • Inferior nasal – 50 degrees
      • Inferior – 65 degrees
      • Inferior temporal – 85 degrees
    • Absence of an eye
    • Severe asthenopia
    • Exophthalmos
    • Glaucoma or pre-glaucoma
    • Loss of normal pupillary reflex reaction to accommodation or light, including Adie’s syndrome
    • Night blindness
    • Retained intraocular foreign body
    • Growth or tumors of the eyelid

Vision

  • Distant visual acuity of any degree that does not correct with spectacle lenses to at least one of the following:
    • 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye
    • 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye
    • 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye
      • USMA and ROTC disqualifications: 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other eye
      • OCS disqualifications: 20/20 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye
  • Near visual acuity of any degree that does not correct to 20/40 in the better eye
  • Refractive error (hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism) worse than -8.00 or +8.00 diopters
    • USMA and ROTC disqualifications:
      • Astigmatism over 3 diopters
      • Hyperopia over 8.00 diopters spherical equivalent
      • Myopia over 8 diopters spherical equivalent
      • Refractive error corrected by orthokeratology or keratorefractive surgery
  • Contact lenses except for in complicated cases
  • Absence of color vision (no standard test)
    • USMA, OCS, ROTC disqualifications:
      • Inability to distinguish and identify without confusion the color of an object, substance, material, or light that is uniformly colored a vivid red or vivid green 

Genitalia

  • Female genitalia
    • Abnormal uterine bleeding
    • Amenorrhea
    • Dysmenorrhea causing absence from routines for more than a few hours
    • Endometriosis
    • Hermaphroditism
    • Menopausal syndrome, if constituted by more than mild symptoms
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Congenital absence of or enlargement of the uterus
    • Vulvar or vaginal ulceration
    • Abnormal Pap smear graded LGSIL or higher or any smear with carcinoma-in-situ, invasive cancer, condyloma, acuminatum, human papillomavirus, or dysplasia
    • Major abnormalities and defects of the genitalia including a change of sex
  • Male genitalia
    • Absence of both testicles
    • Epispadias or Hypospadias, when accompanied by urinary tract infection or if clothing is soiled when voiding
    • Undiagnosed enlargement or mass of testicle or epididymis
    • Undescended testicles
    • Orchitis
    • Amputation of penis
    • Penile infectious lesions
    • Prostatitis
    • Hydrocele
  • Major abnormalities and defects of the genitalia

Urinary System

  • Cystitis
  • Urethritis
  • Enuresis or incontinence of urine
  • Hematuria, pyuria, or other incidents or renal tract disease
  • Urethral stricture or fistula
  • Kidney
    • Absence of one kidney
    • Infections
    • Polycystic kidney
    • Horseshoe kidney
    • Hydronephrosis
    • Nephritis
  • Proteinuria
  • Renal calculus within 12 months, recurrent calculus, nephrocalcinosis, or bilateral renal calculi

Head

  1. Injuries
  2. Deformities of the skull, face, or jaw preventative of wearing masks or helmets
  3. Defects, loss, or congenital absence of the bony substance of the skull leaving a defect more than 1 square inch (6.25 cm squared)

Neck

  1. Cervical ribs
  2. Congenital cysts
  3. Contraction of the muscles of the neck or cicatricial contracture of the neck

Heart

  • Valvular heart diseases except for mitral valve prolapse and bicuspid aortic valve
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Symptomatic arrhythmia
    • Supraventricular tachycardia or dysrhythmia originating from the atrium or sinoatrial node within 2 years
    • Ventricular arrhythmias except for occasional premature ventricular contractions
    • Ventricular conduction disorders, left bundle branch block, Mobitz type II second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block, third-degree AV block, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, and Lown-Ganong-Levine Syndrome
    • Conduction disturbances when symptomatic or associated with underlying cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertrophy or dilation of the heart
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pericarditis
  • Persistent tachycardia
  • Congenital anomalies of the heart and great vessels except for corrected patent ductus arteriosus

Vascular System

  • Abnormalities of the arteries and blood vessels
  • Hypertensive vascular disease
  • Pulmonary or systemic embolization
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Vein diseases with a year or venous incompetence

Height

  • Men: Height under 60 inches (5’) or over 80 inches (6’8”)
  • Women: Height under 58 inches (4’10”) or over 80 inches (6’8”)

Weight

Applicants for initial appointment as commissioned officers must meet the standards of AR 600-9. All others must meet the standards laid out in the Army weight requirements table. Body fat composition might also be measured to evaluate an applicant’s qualification.

Body Build

Deficient muscular development interfering with the completion of required training may be cause for disqualification.

Lungs, Chest Wall, Pleura, and Mediastinum

  • An abnormal elevation of the diaphragm
  • Abscess of the lung
  • Acute infectious processes of the lung until cured
  • Asthma
    • History of cough, wheeze, and/or dyspnea recurring over a prolonged period of, generally, more than six months
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Bronchopleural fistula
  • Bullous or generalized pulmonary emphysema
  • Chronic mycotic diseases of the lung
  • Chest wall malformation or fracture interfering with vigorous physical exertion
  • Empyema
  • Extensive pulmonary fibrosis
  • Foreign body in lung, trachea, or bronchus
  • Lobectomy
  • Pleurisy with effusion within two years or from unknown origin
  • Pneumothorax within a year or from an unknown origin and recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax after surgery or pleural sclerosis within three years
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Encapsulated silicone breast implants within 9 months or with symptomatic complications
  • Tuberculous lesions

Mouth

  • Cleft lip or palate defects unless repaired
  • Leukoplakia

Nose, Sinuses, and Larynx

  • Allergic manifestations
    • Allergic or vasomotor rhinitis if not controlled by medication
    • Atrophic rhinitis
    • Vocal cord paralysis or symptomatic disease of the larynx
  • Anosmia or parosmia
  • Epistaxis
  • Nasal polyps unless your surgery was completed within a year
  • Perforation of the nasal septum with symptoms
  • Sinusitis
  • Larynx ulceration, polyps, granulated tissue, or chronic laryngitis
  • Tracheostomy or tracheal fistula
  • Deformities or conditions of the mouth, tongue, palate throat, pharynx, larynx, and nose that interfere with chewing, swallowing, speech, or breathing
  • Pharyngitis and nasopharyngitis

Neurological Disorders

  • Cerebrovascular conditions, subarachnoid or intracerebral hemorrhage, vascular insufficiency, aneurysm, or arteriovenous malformation
  • Congenital malformations if associated with neurological manifestations and meningocele
  • Degenerative and heredodegenerative disorders affecting the cerebrum, basal ganglia, cerebellum, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves or muscles
  • Recurrent headaches that interfere with your normal function within 3 years
  • Head injury
    • Late post-traumatic epilepsy occurring more than one week after injury
    • Permanent motor or sensory deficits
    • Impairment of intellectual functions
    • Alteration of personality
    • Central nervous system shunt
    • Severe head injuries are disqualifiers until 5 years after the injury if showing no signs of complication and severe penetrating head injuries are disqualifiers until 10 years after the injury if showing no signs of complications.
      • Unconsciousness or amnesia for over 24 hours
      • Depressed skull fracture
      • Laceration or contusion of dura or brain
      • Epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, or intracerebral hematoma
      • Associated abscess or meningitis
      • Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea or otorrhea for more the 7 days
      • Focal neurologic signs
      • Evidence of retained metallic or bony fragments
      • Leptomeningeal cysts or arteriovenous fistula
      • Early post-traumatic seizures within one week of injury but more than 30 minutes after injury
    • Moderate head injuries defined by unconsciousness or amnesia of 1 to 24 hours or a linear skull fracture are disqualifiers until 2 years after the injury if showing no signs of complications.
    • Mild head injuries defined by unconsciousness or amnesia of one hour or less are disqualifiers until one month after the injury if showing no signs of complications.
    • Persistent post-traumatic sequelae
  • Infectious diseases
    • Meningitis, encephalitis, or poliomyelitis within one year
    • Neurosyphilis, general paresis, tabes dorsalis meningovascular syphilis
  • Narcolepsy, sleep apnea syndrome
  • Paralysis, weakness, lack of coordination, pain, sensory disturbance
  • Epilepsy beyond the age of 5 unless the applicant has been seizure-free for 5 years without medication
  • Chronic disorders such as myasthenia or multiple sclerosis
  • Central nervous system shunts

Neurotic, Anxiety, Mood, Somatoform, Dissociative, or Factitious Disorders

  • Disorders with psychotic features
  • Disorders which caused admission to a hospital or residential facility
  • Disorders requiring care by a physician or mental health professional for more than 6 months
  • Disorders with repetitive symptoms or behaviors impairing social, school, or work efficiency

Personality Conduct and Behavior Disorders

  • Disorders causing encounters with law enforcement or antisocial attitudes or behaviors
  • Disorders where the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness, or dependency will seriously interfere with military adjustment
  • Other disorders like enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking, or eating disorders
  • Specific academic deficiencies
  • Suicide, suicide attempts, or suicidal behavior

Psychosexual Conditions

  • Transsexualism
  • Exhibitionism
  • Transvestitism
  • Voyeurism
  • Other paraphilias

Skin and Cellular Tissues

  • Severe acne or acne on the neck, shoulders, chest, or back that would be aggravated or interfere with wearing military equipment. Accutane patients are disqualified until 8 weeks after treatment.
  • Atopic dermatitis or eczema with active or residual lesions
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Cysts
    • Cysts that interfere with wearing military equipment
    • Pilonidal cysts (cystectomy disqualifying if within 6 months of medical examination)
  • Dermatitis factitia
  • Bullous dermatoses
  • Chronic Lymphedema
  • Fungus infections
  • Furunculosis
  • Hyperhidrosis of hands or feet
  • Ichthyosis or other congenital or acquired anomalies of the skin
  • Keloid formation
  • Leprosy
  • Lichen planus
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Photosensitivity or any dermatosis aggravated by sunlight
  • Psoriasis, unless mild
  • Radiodermatitis
  • Extensive scars that prevent wearing of military equipment, tend to ulcerate, or interfere with normal function
  • Scleroderma
  • Tattoos that will limit effective military service performance
  • Urticaria
  • Plantar warts
  • Disabling xanthoma or if it’s accompanied by hyperlipemia
  • Any other chronic skin disorder that requires frequent outpatient treatment or interferes with satisfactory performance of duty

Spine and Sacroiliac Joints

  • Arthritis
  • Disease or injury of the spine that has prevented the applicant from following a physically active vocation or caused pain to lower extremities
  • Deviation or curvature of the spine if:
    • Prevents a physically active vocation
    • Interferes with wearing military equipment or uniform
    • Symptomatic
    • Lumbar scoliosis greater than 20 degrees, thoracic scoliosis greater than 30 degrees, and kyphosis or lordosis greater than 55 degrees
  • A fusion of more than two vertebrae
  • Healed fractures or dislocations of vertebrae
  • Juvenile epiphysitis
  • Ruptured nucleus pulposus, herniation of intervertebral disk, or history of operation for this condition
  • Symptomatic spina bifida or when more than one vertebrae are involved
  • Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis
  • Weak or painful back requiring external support

Systemic Diseases

  • Amyloidosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Eosinophilic granuloma when occurring as a single localized bony lesion
  • Lupus erythematosus and mixed connective tissue disease
  • Polymyositis/dermatomyositis complex
  • Progressive Systemic Sclerosis unless a single plaque of localized scleroderma (morphea) has been stable for at least two years
  • Reiter’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Sarcoidosis unless in remission for at least two years
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Tuberculosis
    • Active tuberculosis within two years
    • One or more reactivations
    • Residual physical or mental defects from past tuberculosis
    • Applicants who had tuberculosis more than two years ago and who have completed full chemotherapy treatment are qualified
    • Vasculitis

General and Miscellaneous Conditions and Defects

  • Allergic manifestations
  • Any acute pathological condition
  • Chronic metallic poisoning with lead, arsenic, silver, beryllium, or manganese
  • Cold injury
  • Cold urticaria and angioedema, hereditary angioedema
  • Filariasis, trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, uncinariasis, or other parasitic conditions
  • Heat pyrexia, heatstroke, or sunstroke
  • Industrial solvent and other chemical intoxication
  • Motion sickness
  • Mycotic infection of internal organs
  • Organ transplant recipient
  • Presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-I) or antibody
  • Reactive tests for syphilis
  • Residuals of tropical fevers
  • Rheumatic fever within two years or recurring
  • Sleep apnea

Tumors and Malignant Diseases

  • Benign tumors that interfere with function, prevents the wearing of military uniform or equipment, requires frequent attention, or has a high malignant attention
  • Malignant tumors, except basal cell carcinoma that has been removed

Miscellaneous Conditions

Any condition that will significantly interfere with the successful performance of military duty or necessary training may cause disqualification.

Army Medical Disqualifications List – Autism?

The question of whether or not autism is a medical disqualifier to joining the military comes down to, it depends.

It’ll be easiest to join the Army out of any other branch due to their more lenient requirements but your acceptance will depend on how one functions in spite of their autism. If the symptoms affect your work, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to join.

You’ll still need a medical waiver to join the military with any form of autism.

Army Medical Disqualifications List – AR (Army Reserves)

If you’re hoping to join the Army Reserves, you’re best off to follow the medical requirements of serving on active duty. Things might be a bit more lenient when push comes to shove but you’ll still want to disclose any medical issues you have with your recruiter.

List of Army Medical Disqualifications

As you can see, there are a lot of medical issues that can disqualify you from joining the military. But, don’t let that scare you off. With many waivers available and countless caveats to the rule, there is still a chance that you’ll be able to serve your country with mild cases of medical unfitness.

References:

https://www.operationmilitarykids.org/can-you-join-the-military-with-autism/

https://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/disqualifiers-medical-conditions.html

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