Looping with Android APS

One of the most common questions I get about Looping is – “What is it” – and honestly I didn’t know it even existed until I joined the Diabetes Online Community.

So, what is looping…

Looping is essentially an artificial pancreas. It uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to send your blood glucose to an app which calculates how much insulin you need which is then delivered via an insulin pump.

I use the Freestyle Libre but have to add MiaoMiao to turn it into a continuous glucose monitor, which sends my blood glucose to my phone every 5 mins. That then goes sends to an app (Android APS) which uses algorithms to calculate how much insulin your body requires based on your current blood sugar. It then sends that amount to your insulin pump – I use the Dana RS.

What is Android APS (AAPS)…

AAPS is an open source app, built by the community and not a licensed medical company. This means it’s not tested or approved by a medical body. Whilst the app has been developed, you can’t just download it from the Play Store, you have to build it yourself. This sounds like a pretty daunting task, but if you follow each step carefully, it’s actually not too bad. I did it over two days as I got stuck on one of the steps (which ended up resolving itself). You can find all the info here

What do you need for looping with AndroidAPS…

This was one of the questions I got the most, what do you need to loop. Well, with AndroidAPS you need a compatible Android Mobile, a compatible pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and you can also connect to a smartwatch. You can check out the compatibilities below.

CGM

Pump

Smart watch

Phone – must be Android not ios

What should you do to get prepared…

I was on an insulin pump for over a year before I even debated starting my looping journey and during that time I spent a lot of time fine tuning my basal rates, profiles, correction factors and ratios. I think there is a misconception that looping will do all the work for you, but there are 42 factors that affect your blood sugar so it is impossible for AAPS to predict and react to the constant changes. You also need to proficiently be carb counting as carbs need to be inputted into the app. Whilst AAPS isn’t approved, my diabetic consultant is pro-looping and is in support of my looping journey.

What’s my verdict…

Looping has been a gamechanger for me, it has allowed me to relinquish a bit of my control which allows time for other endeavours – like working on Organising Chaos. There are some days where except for inputting my carbs to bolus, I will let looping do the rest! But it wasn’t an easy journey and took a lot of time, effort and hard work to get to this point. You have to be willing to put in the effort, to gain the real benefits of looping. I am by no means an expert, I read the docs  and spoke with people in the community, the groups on Facebook are super helpful for tips and troubleshooting and I would definitely recommend doing your research before embarking on the journey.

Facebook group

Useful resources to read before you start

Disclaimer: I am not a professional and my post is based on opinion. You should always discuss your plan with your healthcare professional.

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