Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Difficulty breathing or periods of lapsed breathing during sleep is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a symptom frequently associated with Pickwickian syndrome. Lapses in breathing can be caused when the throat becomes blocked during sleep, such as from excessive fat tissue or the tongue relaxing back into the throat. Some cases of apnea are caused by a lack of brain signals to the breathing muscles during sleep. Signs of sleep apnea include choking or coughing during sleep, snoring, lapses in breathing, and waking up tired or with a headache.