Active Duty and OSA: Can You Serve in the Military with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Active Duty and OSA: Can You Serve in the Military with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Posted On: Jun 04, 2024

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Military Service
  • Can You Serve in the Military with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
  • Treatments for OSA and Military Service
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion


Soldiers and veterans alike are not immune to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This blog delves into whether you can serve while dealing with OSA. It covers the difficulties it causes and possible therapy solutions. Individuals can still serve with a controlled disease. OSA may need a waiver or adaptations during deployment.


People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted breathing while sleeping. It happens because their throat constricts or narrows. This lowers sleep quality. That raises the risk of health problems. It also causes an inability to concentrate and general fatigue. Serving in the military requires one to think and act well. It requires both mental and physical skill. So, the question of whether or not OSA can prevent military service is understandable.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Military Service

One encouraging thing is that OSA may be effectively treated. The effect on sleep, however, may have an effect on preparedness for battle. People with OSA may need a military medical assessment. The military takes the condition seriously. Some veterans with OSA may serve in the military. Their condition must be mild and their therapy is effective.

Can You Serve in the Military with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

You may have repeated pauses in breathing while you sleep. These may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Veterans interested in joining the military should consider OSA. But it's may affect veterans. Find out whether you can serve with OSA and other things.





Treated OSA shouldn't limit deployments for most service members.

CPAP machines (common OSA treatment) require electricity and can be bulky for field use.

Physical Fitness

OSA treatment can improve sleep quality, leading to better physical performance.

Severe OSA can cause daytime fatigue, impacting physical readiness.

Mental Wellbeing

Treated OSA can improve mood and cognitive function.

Untreated OSA can increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

Treatments for OSA and Military Service

CPAP is the best OSA treatment. Constant air pressure from CPAP masks keeps your airway open as you sleep. Some patients may benefit from oral appliances or surgery. The military says alternative OSA therapies may deploy more easily than CPAP devices. OSA patients who control their condition may succeed in the military.


Can I enlist with OSA?

Recruits with OSA can't usually enroll. Waivers may be available if diagnosed and treated during their service.

What happens if I have OSA during deployment?

Open communication with your doctor is crucial. Limitations on deployment may depend on severity and treatment strategy.

Are there other risks of OSA?

Untreated OSA raises the risk of hypertension. It also raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.


Having OSA doesn't prevent you from serving in the military. You can still serve your nation. It may need a correct diagnosis, treatment, and maybe a waiver. Talk to your doctor honestly about your worries about OSA if you have any. Your health and your military career depend on prompt diagnosis and treatment.