Thyroid UK
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Graves Disease and joining the Army

Short story.. I have Graves Disease. Levels have fluctuated from around 37.4 on diagnosis to 21 and I'm not on anti-thyroid medication currently.

I want too find out that in the next couple of years if I get better, either having not relapsed and or being under active if I have RAI, if I can join the British Army or Marines?

Medics criteria states 'Certain Thyroid' diseases but it's too vague. I am not requiring medication forever unless under active and even then, my friend who is underactive has been told if she's free for 12 months of controlled levels she can enlist. But elsewhere I've heard that lifelong medication might hinder my application because of being on operations abroad etc.

I don't want to start the ball rolling later on to be told I cannot join definitively. I know it sounds like a long shot, I am focusing on recovery but just wanted to know my options for the future with the British Army.

Thanks in advance,


4 Replies

One of our members will reply re Graves. I am hypothyroid but will try to find information for you.

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Smokingwax, I think you'll have to check out with the army medical office what thyroid dysfunction, if any, is acceptable. Hyperthyroidism may regulate after 9-18 months on anti-thyroid drugs, but remission may not be permanent, especially if Graves antibodies are positive. Hypothyroidism caused by RAI or surgery requires lifelong thyroxine replacement.


Doug, as Clutter said, you will need to speak to the Army Medics for a definitive answer.

I am hypo with Hashi's & I've currently got an application for the Naval Reserves on hold until the NHS can sort out an optimal dosage / treatment protocol for me & the Naval Medics can assess the situation...... I'm in a specialist field though & would never be deployed abroad - to boot the unit I have applied to already has medical exemptions in place for the specialists.

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Thank you both for your feedback. I've read in both Army and Naval medical criteria's that if you are categorised as a P8 then you are unfit for service, but someone with in my instance, Graves Disease, or less specifically Hyperthyroidism, provided you are under control and either euthyroid or your levels are under control and you haven't needed medication for over 12 months, then you could be classed as a P2 which means you can still apply, but there will be restrictions, or exemptions that might take affect as effectively you will be a 'broken' soldier as your health remits a lifelong issue.

It still isn't clear whether Graves Disease, and or the medication you might require, or remission whether that is a generic null and void, or whether it purely is down to a case by case basis.

I wanted to join either the Parachute Regiment / or Artillery Army Reserve, or the Royal Marines Reserve, and I imagine both will have to assess my medical history with a fine tooth comb.

So there are still some things that are unclear but I think that draws down to the specifics of my case, medication, remission time etc.


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