Posted 15 June 2016 - 07:46 PM
Like you, I was always under the impression that the last thing one would need to do is boost the immune system in autoimmune diseases, as it's too active already and would therefore make things worse. I have actually had people say the same thing to me and they have been quite surprised when I've explained that I take immunosuppressants to suppress my immune system, not encourage it.
It's interesting about exercise increasing inflammation, as when I was first diagnosed, I was very fit and almost fanatical about going to the gym, so inadvertently I was probably making my symptoms worse. However, the fact that I was so fit did enable me to pick up on my lung involvement very quickly, plus the fact that my lungs were super efficient to begin with, which did help. However, all the successful treatment I received (cyclophosphamide, azathioprine and prednisolone) involved suppressing my immune system and thus the inflammation in my lungs. I've just had my second hip replaced and have been off the immune suppressants for the past six weeks prior to the operation. I had also been cutting down on the prednisolone with a view to discontinuing it completely and unfortunately the result has been a little flare up in my lungs, so I've had to up the prednisolone again to settle it down. As well as being anti inflammatory the steroid also acts as an immune suppressant, which is why I mention it.
Like Shelley, I would advise your friend to consult her scleroderma expert and be advised by him.