Taking part in research is a family affair for dad and son Steve and Andrew Jones.
Both have type 2 diabetes, and so when dad Steve, 57, found that trying a higher dose of standard medication designed to prevent heart problems improved his health, he was happy to recommend the research study to son Andrew.
Andrew was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago following a number of niggling illnesses, including a lung infection and shingles. He started on treatment immediately but over time he became concerned that he was putting on weight and feeling much more tired, even though his blood sugar was well-controlled.
He said: “I’d put on more than two stone and wasn’t happy. My dad had already started the study and felt better for it, so he suggested that I try to get involved.
“GPs are fantastic but they can’t specialise in everything so it was great to be able to see an expert like Professor Cuong Dang at North Manchester General Hospital.
“When I met him and the research team, they were very open and upfront, answering all my questions, even the ones I thought might be a bit trivial.
“I knew I didn’t want to be on drugs I didn’t need, but they allayed my concerns and I really felt I would benefit in the long-term.”
The PONTIAC II study is testing whether more intensive therapy with commonly prescribed medicines for lowering blood pressure are more effective than usual care. Taking part in the two-year study means four extra visits to hospital for extra checks.
In Andrew’s case, it also means taking seven tablets a day instead of the five he previously took.
Andrew said: “I feel tons better already and within three weeks of starting the study I’d lost a stone in weight and had lots more energy.
“It’s reassuring to have the extra checks but I also like the way communication is kept open all the time. I feel like I can always ask for advice.”