Some people who repeatedly develop kidney stones may also have high levels of calcium deposits in their blood vessels. A study recently published by the American Society of Nephrology suggests that this could explain their increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

“It’s becoming clear that having kidney stones is a bit like having raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, or diabetes in that it is another sign of, or risk factor for, cardiovascular disease and its consequences,” said study co-author Robert Unwin of University College London. The main message “is to begin to take having kidney stones seriously in relation to cardiovascular disease risk, and to practice preventive monitoring and treatments, including diet and lifestyle.”

Since kidney stones put you at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, it makes lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of getting kidney stones all the more important.