04/08/2012 08:33 am ET

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Sportscaster Bonnie Berstein On Her Near Fatal Blood Clots

Sportscaster Bonnie Bernstein was covering an intense college football rivalry when her leg started throbbing. At a nearby hospital, an ultrasound revealed a blood clot from her Achilles tendon to the top of her left leg, and scattered throughout both lungs.

"The doctor said to me, "I'm not quite sure how you're still alive,'" she says, in the video above.

Bernstein's official diagnosis was deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and a bilateral pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body, most often in the legs. If the clot breaks off, it can travel through the blood to the lungs and block bloodflow, creating a pulmonary embolism, which can damage other organs and, in some instances, be fatal.

Most cases occur after sitting for a long period of time, like when traveling by plane. Some health conditions can also affect the way the blood clots, thereby upping a person's risk of DVT.

According to the National Health Lung and Blood Institute, DVT and PE affect 300,000 to 600,000 Americans every year.

"More people die from complications from this condition than breast cancer and AIDS combined," she says, "but it doesn't need to be that way." Bernstein, a patient spokesperson for, urges you to check your risk for DVT with the simple assessment tool found here.

For more on DVT, click here.

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