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 (Military Entrance Processing Station).
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.
The results of a pulmonary function test or PFT may also be used in making the decision about a waiver. Any required testing will be provided at no expense to the recruit.
In the event of a medical waiver, previous medical records will be requested. They may request medical records at any time in order to prove that asthma has not been an issue since his 13th birthday.
For this reason, it is imperative that the recruit is completely honest throughout the process about his medical history.
Lying or otherwise misrepresenting his medical background can have serious consequences when it is discovered.