Does having EDS disqualify you from military service?

I have Type III EDS and I was just wondering if it would disqualify me from military service, I didn't think about it until just now and I've been talking to an Air Force recruiter for a while, but I noticed that someone had said that it would DQ you, but it was just on Yahoo Answers so I thought I'd get it straight from other people who have this condition,

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I don't know as my son has HEDS and wants a military career, we keep it very quiet and don't mention it to doctors unless we need to and then request it stay out of his records. He is only mildly affected at this point but who knows, his brains might kick in and him realize that the damage we do to our joints is cumulative and that type of abuse wouln't be wise. IMHO Sorry to be a drag.

Hope you find out more.
Lexie

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I applaud your desire to serve your country. My father was lifelong Air Force. My sons inherited my HEDS and a desire to serve like their grandfather. Of course, none of us were diagnosed when my eldest went into the Army at 18. He suffered from some very painful injuries in boot camp. As you can imagine, this was not appreciated by his drill sargents. He was forced to continue to run with in heavy gear with ruptured knee ligaments and not allowed to seek medical attention. His short Army career was ended when his leg was crushed in a training exercise. (while not a a direct EDS injury it was indirectly a result of not being strong and agile enough to get out of the way of some heavy equipment) Of course, Ehlers-Danlos is different for everyone, so your milage may vary. Just keep in mind that if you are accepted you may be expected to perform at the same level as soldiers without your condition. When you are a G.I. your body no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the government. You aren't allowed to stop running if you are hurting, injured. For most young men and women this is a method for building strength and character, but with EDS it's tough for others to "see" the injury. My son is 40 now and has a lot of problems with his abused joints. You have an advantage of having a diagnoses early and can chart your life in way that will allow you to live it to the fullest without undue suffering.

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I served for four years in the military, and had problems with joints but they didn't know what it was, and this was prior to a dx.

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My son is in the Air Force now and has started having problems with his foot. He has just had his second surgery. I have EDS with Hypermobility. I am positive he has the same but it is not diagnosed. He mentioned to his doctors that I had it but nothing ever became of it. I would think if you are not having problems, it should not be an issue. People with asthma are now serving as long as it is not a bad case and it does not bother them as far as their duties are concerned. Everyone reacts differently. I don't know what issues you have, but I really didn't have any until the age of 50.

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Hi, Welcome. I think it depends on making it through boot camp. What job do you want in the Air Force? My advice would be to join the reserves. If you have no symptoms now 8 weeks of boot camp is possible if you pass the physical. I don't know what job you are wanting once you get accepted. There are many good job that aren't too physically demanding. You just have to pass a PT test every year. Good luck.

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I was in the Air Force, but had no idea that I had EDS type 3 at the time. During training, I got permanently injured and was separated with a medical leave. I know now that the injury would not have occured had I known about EDS and didn't join. There was also a girl in the separation dorm with me that had EDS, which did disqualify her and they sent her home as soon as they found out.

The thing about recruiters is that they will sign waivers for almost everything. They do not have your well being in mind, they are simply filling their quota. So, even if they do let you in; you could be sent right back home once you get there. And, I will be the first to tell you that getting into the military is much easier than getting out regardless of the reason. After my injury, I was held at boot camp for six months waiting to be let out. It was pure hell, and I am still unsure why it takes so long to be discharged. I won't go into the details of that experience, but it was pretty bad.

As far as getting in and staying in, that could still be a bad idea. The physical activity is rigorous, you do not get great sleep, and it is mentally exhausting. Some of those things get better after initial training, but some of them are just part of the game. You could be doing damage to your body that will show up much later in life, even if you think you are tolerating it at the time.

I would never discourage someone from doing something they really want to do, but please think about the potential consequences before you sign that black line. Once you are there, it can be really hard to convince anyone something is hurt or you feel sick. That is because so many people use that excuse to get out. You really have to prove that something is wrong, and even then they give you a hard time.

I wish you luck, and if you do get in I pray for your health. If it does become to much, let someone know. They will give you a hard time, but their bark is bigger than their bite. It isn't worth the risk of a permant injury like I have. I was to frightened at first to say anything, but I wish I had.

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I also served 4 years active duty Army way before my diagnosis. I had many "unusual" problems (unusual back then, but not now), like stress fractures, never-ending back pain, hip pain, GI problems, ear problems. Of course, no one, including me knew I had an issue....one doc at Bethesda got close, but I discontinued care with him because I thought "I'm 22 years old, there's no way there's something wrong with me!" I think you should give it a try because if you can't finish boot camp for some medical reason, you can seek a discharge on honorable terms. Good luck!!

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I was always on waivers that excluded me from pt, also had tons of issues, but then again this was before dx. If you lied about it to get in and got discharged it would not be honorable.

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I haven't actually been diagnosed yet (geneticist appt coming up in october), but i was disqualified my freshman year of college b/c of other medical issues that we didn't know were all probably EDS related. Heart arhythymia (sp?), thyroid, flat feet.

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If you have flat feet, then that disqualifies you regardless of the EDS. I think you should really consider the implications of joining long and hard. I know it sucks, but it sucks more to have a permanent disability from an injury. These are just my opinions coming from someone who had every worse case senario happen while I was in. The rules and disqualification criteria are there for a reason. . . To prevent un needed injury.

Best of luck in whatever you choose.

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I have never been in the army, but I was training to compete professionally in my sport, which I suppose is a little similar as you are training to be incredibly fit and jointpain/muscle pain is simply part of that lifestyle. In hindsight I have conflicting feelings about it:

I sometimes still dream of the feeling, the sensation of being able to use my body to a degree most people never experience; it touches on a sense of total control of your own body, and the feeling of being able to test your limits physically and mentally. I still enjoy those memories, and really benefit still from the discipline I learned as young child/young adult, and with that the techniques to more or less mentally block out pain.

One the other side is fact that if I had not trained twice a day, 6 days a week for years...well, the doctors all agree that it would have prevented a great deal of damage to my legs. It really does make me wonder what my life would have been like without that damage...

I was not diagnosed at the time, and followed totally inapropriate PT which just worsened the situation; so I then switched to a different sport that did not require the use of my legs; polo-canoeing. Worst decision possible; it just spread the problem to my shoulders, hands, etc.

I had the benefit that I could simply walk away from a sports-career, which is something that just is not possible in the army though. I don;t know how fit you are right now, or if you do a lot of sports, but if you do, and all of a sudden your joints give out, the large amounts of serotonin that sporters make is interupted; the balance of that hormone needs to adjust to a different production situation due to the lack of excersize (yes; your brain can get VERY addicted to sporting and the hormones it releases during excersize), as for a few weeks your brain will make less as it is waiting for the excersize to produce more serotonin. This will balance itself out naturally after a few weeks, but just be aware that when that happens, you can get INCREDIBLY depressed/irritable/pissed off due to the hormonal inbalances, not to even mention the mental crap of having to convince those around you you are not faking it. In my case it was really clear that my body gave out; during training one day I collapsed with a dislocated hip, kneecap and toes...With my hands the problems started really gradually though, so you never know how problems might present themselves. But I DO KNOW that the ONSET of all my problems were caused by my super-active lifestyle.

I have no advice here for you; but I thought I'd let you know how physical activity effected my EDS type 3. I am glad I did what I did as I enjoyed it to no end at the time, but the damage to my body is now debilitating. Every body is different and EDS does not present itself the same in anyone; my sister has the flexibility of EDS3, but no problems what-so-ever; runs every day too. Good luck with your decision!

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No matter how much you want a military career, you must tell the truth. My nephew went into the service 5 years ago, at which time he was dealing with chronic neck pain. In all the forms, medical exams, applications, and interviews, he failed to mention his neck pain. 18 months in he took a rough fall parachuting and his neck problem escalated. When all was said and done, his discharge got wrapped up in so much red tape he couldn't go home without being AWOL when his time was up. When he should have gone home, he was shipped to Alaska where he stayed for an additional 18 months until his discharge papers came through. He had to do a lot of back peddling when he went for medical attention, xrays and MRI showed a pre-existing neck problem. The military did not want to pay him disability for the rest of his life, so they built a strong case against him, and refused to let him out until he was willing to release them of responsibility for his injury. He missed the birth of his child and was put through a long and frustrating military run around because of his dishonesty by omission.

All said and done, he probably would have been accepted into the service even if had he told the truth, he just would not have been put in a parachuting division. I hope this helps...I know it is difficult to give up your dream, but be honest so it doesn't turn into your worst nightmare. Best wishes!

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I went through something very similar Diane and I still have a lot of mental dilemmas because of it. Let's just say you are treated like a failure if you get injured, and it can be very hard to get any help. I fought two years to prove my injury was not pre-existing and to get disability and medical benefits. I could tell some stories, but maybe this isn't the place. But, you are definitely right being honest is the best way. You do NOT want to go through a lengthy separation. It is pure he'll and at least for me I was treated like the scum of the earth.

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I've been in the Air Force ~4 1/2 years. My joints slowly deteriorated over the years that I've been in, and after one PT session where someone thought it'd be a good idea to run up and down stairs for most of it my knees have simply been gimp ever since. I'm probably going to be medically discharged.

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I was nominated to the USNA when I was in high school, but dropped out of applying due to symptoms that (2 years later) we discovered were all caused by EDS. It's a wonderfully difficult decision to make and yes, I will always have those "what ifs" in the back of my mind, wondering how different my life might have been had I joined the Navy. But in the end, I feel that I made the right decision, as I'm on track to graduate with my BS in Nutritional Science in the spring and am applying to medical school right now, all while finding ways to get my condition under control and getting in top physical shape. Whether or not you decide to enlist, your choice regardless will leave you wondering what might have come had you chosen the other path. Just trust in your own judgment and know that the choice you're making is a good one :)

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I have EDS type III with hyper mobility and loose joints, I have been in the Army for 6 years. I am a Military Police Officer with 2 deployments so far. I did not even think to say anything when I first joined. It wasn't till I got into basic and they gave us a speech about if there is anything you omitted now it's the time to tell us. It was one day of being absolved and excused. I forgot what they called that one day but they would not throw you out if you told them you had a medical condition they felt was controllable by meds. I guess the Army is aware that the recruiters usually tell you to hide any illness that would normally preclude you from entering the service. So many young kids raised there hands.
They're were kids who were bipolar and weren't taking there meds because they were told to get off them several months before going to basic training. I told them my issues but it didn't really register because they have never heard of it. They weren't doctors. The info never trickled down to the drill sgts so when I was hurting I had to speak up and tell them I needed bandages and hand warmers for the pain. Since any medical paraphernalia, candy, meds like advil are prohibited if not given by their medical personal it was prohibited. The drill sgt had to google it and after scruty told me I could get the stuff out of my personal bag that was locked up. I find that bandaging my joints after a run or if I am already in pain helped me get through the day. At night when I lay in bed I would take the hand warmers and use it as a heating pad. a little red on the skin but so well worth it. Pt was every day. Thank goodness for chin splints. those days I would just get on the stationary bike and slowly pedal. I did fall three times while trying to climb up the tower (did finally get in). I now have a shoulder that is shoved in all the way into my socket, broke my collar bone, and injured my other shoulder so that it did not go all the way in to its socket. Never really felt too much pain and never complained too much. went once to the drs. just so that it was recorded. They never found out about the broken collar bone and it healed terribly on its own. it may have just been fractured but it now meets in a X now. lol I suggest you think about the MOS you want and what MOS your body will be able to handle. Don't even think about Infantry, scout or mechanic or any thing that will require you to lift heavy stuff. Computers, military Intelligence, CID, even Military Police in the Air Force is not that bad. they get to stay in hotels. lol worked with a couple. Thinking of doing a lateral to air force myself. Anytime you have something happen to you go to medical. always document everything, get an LOD (line of duty paperwork) whether it's twisting your ankle, your thumb, knee, stomach pain. We are not like everyone else. One small thing could lead to a world of hurt later. Never blame it on EDS when you go to medical. The fault lies in the fact that you were at training. You want to be able to get disability if needed in the long run. I save all my LODs and one day I when I can no longer handle the pain I will put in for a rate. that's another story. You can still stay in the service with your disability.
I have a permanent profile for my shoulder and can no longer do the pushup. Good luck I hope it works out well for you. You can always get out with a disability no matter how many years you have left to serve. I need my health insurance so I plan to do my 20.

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I served in the Army for eight years and was eventually medically discharged for EDS-related injuries. I strongly do not recommend joining military service. I was an intelligence analyst- seems like like duty. But in a war, there is no light duty. You do not have control our your daily activities. If you are hurt, march on. It is now 15 years since leaving the Army. I'm in daily pain duty to injuries sustained during service. If you want to be gung ho, try something like a police officer. Best of luck.

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I agree that when you deploy you have no choice of what duties you will be doing. There are long 12 hour days and sometimes longer depending on your position. I wasn't stating that military intelligence was an easy job. Did not mean to offend. I was just trying to state that perhaps working with your mind would be a better fit than the daily gruel of having to do patrols and be on your feet all day long.
Since my company is on a mission with Air force personal for the next couple of years I have seen that Air force jobs differ very much from Army. Even the same MOS as mine is very different. Air force deploys only for 6 months at a time. I am in a combat support unit. I wouldn't recommend this MOS in the Army to anyone with EDS but I have found that Air forces' Security forces (MP) is very different. We all have different limitations even though we may have the same condition. If you join go National Guard. I am National Guard, I just happen to volunteer for deployments because I hate drills. And the hurrry up and wait mentality is stressful on the mind and body. I joined as a three year stint and later extended. And yes, no matter what you will leave broken, even more so than the average soldier because of your condition.

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When I sustained a shepards fracture on. My left ankle/foot, I was forced to run three miles a day even though I had documentation that it was broke, when I fell a couple of times during the run they finally put a cast on, but I was forced to join drill and march with my crutches in tow. I did not know I had EDS at the time, and this caused severe injuries Tommy shoulders and hands. I am talking marching in rhythm and pace with everyone else for miles using crutches. My foot cannot be fixed due to the damage sustained while running on a broken bone. Also, my shoulders and pain are excruciating all the time. I did end up with a line of duty injury, but it was due to their negligence. Because of them, I get my school paid for through vocational rehabilitation because there are a lot of jobs I can not do anymore.

I don't know if the question is if you can endure while in the military with these problems. I am living proof that you can. I was an F-16 fighter mechanic. The question is how will you live after you are discharged. For me, it has ruined my life. There are so many things that are no possible for me because of the injuries I sustained. My back is a complete mess and I am looking at my second surgery. To me, I question "was it worth it"? Looking back, no it definitely was not.

I only receive a 10 percent disability rating even though I can not function with daily life anymore. I had to fight like mad just to get that. Almost all of my documented files of injury went "missing", and I know exactly where they went--in a shredder. I know this because while I was un able to do physical activity they had me in the medical processing unit shredding medical papers. They do not want to give anyone line of duty injury pay or disability. If you are in or stay in, please keep a personal folder with every documentation of injury or illness. Otherwise, when you try to fight to get out or receive compensation you may find that all of the sudden they have no proof of anything.

Just my experience, take it for what it's worth. I know a lot of people would like to believe that the military has your best interest at heart, but they don't. They are a business just like any. They have their best interest at heart. If you choose to go in knowingly with this disease be prepared to have to fight like hell in order to either get out, get proper medical treatment, and to prevent un-needed injuries.

Good luck to you all.

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I agree with you the military is a business. but without it I would not have the health insurance that is so needed when I do injure myself. I am in the Army with my eyes wide open. I keep records of everything. I always find a copy machine before I have to hand back my folder during SRP's. I now have a portable scanner just in case. but the thought of never being able to serve again is too much for me at this moment.
when I watch the news and see what is going on around the world, and I see soldiers getting on a plane to go overseas its like a fireman who hears that bell. I still feel that need to be there no matter what. RLdrury, really needs to think of his whole future and look at all his options.

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