Pickwickian syndrome, also known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome, is a health condition that affects breathing and the blood. Obesity can restrict the ability of the lungs to move oxygen into the blood and carbon dioxide out of the blood. When gases are not exchanged properly, it leads to an increase in carbon dioxide and a decrease in oxygen within the blood. Improper levels of gases in the bloodstream can lead to symptoms and complications that can dramatically impact the health of someone with Pickwickian syndrome. While there is no common cause of this condition, losing weight can improve symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Blood cells full of oxygen are a bright red, and this is what causes the pinkish coloring in the skin. However, when blood cells do not contain enough oxygen, they are darker and more purple. When blood oxygen levels are low, it can lead to a bluish tint in the extremities, such as the tips of the fingers and toes, beneath the nails, and of the lips. Severe cases can cause a bluish tint all over the skin, which is something called cyanosis. A bluish discoloration of the skin can be a symptom of many conditions, though it is important to note it is often seen in individuals with Pickwickian syndrome.