Diabetes, chronic migraines, Raynaud’s.
They’re just three out of a 60-strong list of conditions that would rule you out of serving in the Army.
It comes after the UK’s most senior soldier warned yesterday that a ‘citizen army’ would be needed for any direct confrontation with Vladimir Putin.
Although he stopped short of backing conscription, General Sir Patrick Sanders said preparing for war against Russia should be a ‘whole-of-nation’ undertaking, including what he described as ‘national mobilisation’.
MPs have been sounding the alarm for years about the dwindling size of the army, which has not been smaller since the Napoleonic Wars, and struggles with recruitment.
Here, MailOnline outlines six of the most common conditions, listed by the British Army, which would, under normal circumstances, exempt you from serving.
The UK’s most senior soldier – General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff – warned yesterday that a ‘citizen army’ would be needed for any direct confrontation with Vladimir Putin.
MPs have been sounding the alarm for years about the dwindling size of the army, which has not been smaller since the Napoleonic Wars, and struggles with recruitment. Pictured, young men called up for national service. Mandatory national service continued after the Second World War until 1960
High blood pressure
High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, is estimated to affect 14.4million people in the UK — a quarter of all adults.
Of these, a staggering four million are thought to be undiagnosed, as they have never been tested.
The condition is flagged among ‘cardiovascular problems’ by the British Army. Checks are available for free via GP surgeries and, if you’re over 40, at many pharmacies.
As a general guide, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 and 120/80 — or below 150/90 if you’re aged over 80.
High blood pressure, meanwhile, is considered to be 140/90 — or 150/90 or over if you’re aged over 80.
Between 120/80 and 140/90 means that you are at risk of developing the condition if you don’t take preventative measures.
Constipation, pushing too hard when pooing, heavy lifting and pregnancy are some of the causes of haemorrhoids, also known as piles, which take the form of lumps in and around the anus, according to the NHS.
Bright red blood after you poo, an itchy anus and lumps around your anus are signs you may be suffering from piles, which are swollen blood vessels.
For some the lumps are temporary and get better after a few days once diet and bowel habits, go back to normal.
But if symptoms worsen or last more than a week, a GP may prescribe stronger medicines. They may also check your symptoms are not being caused by something else.
Army chiefs warn against joining or delaying your application to join if suffering from ‘active haemorrhoids’.
Among the common hospital treatments include rubber band ligation — a band placed around your piles to make them drop off — and sclerotherapy, a liquid injected into your piles to make them shrink.
Up to 80 per cent of people suffer piles at some point in their lives, it is estimated.
Migraines typically feel like a very bad headache, with a throbbing pain on one side of the skull.
They can last anywhere between hours or days.
Sufferers can get warning signs before a migraine strikes, such as stiff neck, fatigue or vision changes like seeing zigzag lines (an ‘aura’).
An estimated one in seven Brits suffer from some form of migraine.
However, in September health officials revealed around 13,000 Brits suffering from severe and untreatable migraines would benefit from a pill that can prevent attacks.
Almost 4.3million people were living with diabetes in 2021/22, according to the latest figures for the UK. And another 850,000 people have diabetes and are completely unaware of it which is worrying because untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to complications including heart disease and strokes
A food allergy requiring you to avoid some foods or an intolerance is among another common reason that may prevent or delay you from joining, according to the British Army.
However, it notes: ‘You can still apply to join the army even if your medical history includes one or more of these conditions.
‘The medical team assess everyone individually, and make their decisions based on their professional opinion in keeping with prescribed army standards.’
Unlike with most other forms of chronic illness, people with allergies are usually fit between attacks and may have high levels of personal fitness.
However, the Army cannot guarantee to serve food which is free from nuts or other potential allergens.
A soldier suffering an allergic reaction while on deployment may also tie up one or more other personnel to look after them.
More than five million people in the UK are thought to have diabetes of some form.
Being fat can lead to type 2, the most common type. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin (a hormone which controls absorption of sugar into the blood) or when cells do not react to insulin properly.
Type 1, on the other hand, has nothing to do with being overweight.
The lifelong condition is caused by the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking and destroying cells that produce insulin.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Raynaud’s – estimated to impact two to five per cent of people – causes miniature spasms in the blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply to the fingers and toes
As Raynaud’s symptoms first appear, fingers will turn white as blood flow is restricted. As the tissues lose oxygen, fingers will turn a bluish hue. As blood flow returns, fingers turn red and people may experience tingling, swelling and/or painful throbbing
With Raynaud’s, freezing temperatures can trigger miniature spasms in your blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply to the outermost parts of the body.
Usually the phenomenon attacks the fingers but sometimes also the toes, ears and tip of the nose. In rare cases, it can affect your nipples.
Areas affected will turn white and eventually blue. Then, as blood flow returns, they morph into a shade of red.
Attacks – which can cause a burning or tingling sensation and numbness – can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Warming up the fingers, or anywhere that has been affected, stops a flare-up in its tracks.
Up to 20 per cent of adults are thought to have Raynaud’s.
Although attacks peak in the cold winter months, symptoms can be triggered by every day tasks such as taking food out of the freezer, air conditioning, or even stress — all of which cause blood vessels to contract.
A small number of patients go on to develop a more serious connective tissue disease, scleroderma, which can cause disability and even prove fatal if not treated properly.
As well as warming up your hands and toes, Raynaud’s can also be thwarted with a drug called nifedipine, which improves circulation.