for Veterans and the Public
Disease and pain
Some diseases regularly cause pain, and the pain is a warning sign that the disease is worsening. For example, coronary artery disease (having blocked arteries in your heart) can cause "angina," which is chest pain. In these cases, chest pain is usually a sign that the coronary artery disease is progressing and it may be a symptom of a heart attack.
Other conditions that often cause pain include: arthritis, herniated discs, migraine headaches, prostatitis, urinary tract infection, pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, and acid reflux (heartburn).
Conditions that usually do not cause pain include: diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, stroke, and liver diseases (alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and others).
In the case of hepatitis C, some patients do experience pain, but most do not. For those who experience pain, the level of pain does not indicate the severity of the hepatitis C disease. In other words, if a patient with coronary artery disease has chest pains, it could be a signal that the heart disease is worsening and that there could be a risk of heart attack. But if a patient with hepatitis C has pain, even in the area of the liver, it does not mean that the liver is in danger or that the hepatitis C is worsening.