Potassium is an essential mineral that has many roles in your body. It helps regulate muscle contractions, maintain healthy nerve function and regulate fluid balance.

However, a national survey found that approximately 98% of Americans are not meeting the recommended potassium intake. A Western diet is likely to blame, as it favors processed foods over whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts (1Trusted Source).

That said, a low-potassium diet is rarely the cause of potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia.
Deficiency is characterized by a blood potassium level below 3.5 mmol per liter (2Trusted Source).

Instead, it occurs when your body suddenly loses a lot of fluid. Common causes include chronic vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating and blood loss (3Trusted Source).

Here are 8 signs and symptoms of potassium deficiency.